Ireland’s economy continues to defy global headwinds, with new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) revealing a record number of people at work in the country.
As of the end of 2022, employment figures in Ireland had surged to a new all-time high of 2.57 million, demonstrating a 2.7% increase over the previous year. This marks an increase of more than 200,000 employed individuals compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
The strong growth was experienced across most sectors, with the administrative and support service activities sector seeing the most significant increase of 15.2%, equivalent to 14,500 new jobs.
The transportation and storage sector also demonstrated notable growth, with a 7.1% increase or 7,500 new positions.
However, a few sectors experienced a decline in employment, including the information and communication sector, which saw a 1.3% reduction of 2,200 positions, and the professional, scientific, and technical activities sector, which declined by 1.5% or 2,600 jobs. These sectors have been adversely affected by a global downturn in tech, leading to several job losses from large corporations such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Stripe, and Twitter.
The recent figures also show a steep decline in unemployment rates, reaching the lowest level of 4.2% (112,000) since 2005, indicating that the Irish economy is nearing full employment levels. The decline in unemployment has been felt across both genders, with the number of men in the labor force increasing by 2.1% (up 29,500) and the number of women increasing by 1.9% (up 23,700).
The participation rate, a key metric in labor market analysis, fell slightly from 65.1% to 64.6%, but Ireland’s Minister of State for Enterprise, Neale Richmond, noted that this was likely due to the surge in migration flows and higher participation rates.
Goodbody economist Dermot O’Leary remarked that, “Record employment levels were reached at the end of 2022 in Ireland, putting the labor market in a very tight position.” He also mentioned that wage growth is being kept in check, despite the tight labor market, by the increase in migration flows and higher participation rates.
Overall, the CSO’s latest Labor Force Survey data indicates a very optimistic outlook for the Irish economy. With the recent support announced for businesses, it seems likely that 2023 will be another successful year for Irish businesses.