The Quarterly National Household Survey for the fourth quarter of 2015, published yesterday, shows a rise in the number of people in employment of 44,100 during 2015. The QNHS is the official measure of employment and unemployment in the state.
However, the figures indicate a slowdown in the rate of increase in employment over the course of the year.
Employment increased by 0.2% in the fourth quarter, compared with a 0.5% increase in the third quarter, 0.8% in the second quarter and 0.7% in the first quarter.
In light of the figures, the CSO has revised up its monthly estimate of unemployment for January this year from 8.6% to 8.9%. For December the rate was revised up from 8.8% to 9%.
Commenting on the figures, Merrion economist Alan McQuaid noted an average increase in the numbers at work last year of 50,100, up from 32,800 in 2014.
The economist said that the country’s employment prospects look very good again in 2016 due to the strong economic recovery, with another net increase of 50,000 forecast.
“As regards unemployment, we are now looking for an average jobless rate this year of 8.5% as against 9.4% in 2015,” he added.