Unemployment in Ireland: a tale of two countries…

As figures on the live register of unemployed in the Republic continue to even out at 14.5% (albeit at historically high levels,) the NI Labour market report released this morning shows a slight drop in unemployment rates 6.7%, down 0.5 percentage points over both the quarter and year…

Hardly an indication of a recovery in the Republic and, just possibly, a calm before the cuts really start to bite in Northern Ireland?

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  • SK

    Northern Ireland is insulated from the real world by a UK government seeking to keep the place as pacified as possible until society there becomes (relatively) normal. That molly-coddling will not last forever.

    Incidentally, Northern Ireland is not a country.

  • “NI Labour market report released this morning shows a slight drop in unemployment rates 6.7%”

    Is it not curious that NI has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the UK [Table 20] and Ireland yet it is one of the most economically inactive regions [link from here to XLS tables]? Is there an official explanation for this?

  • Reader

    SK: Incidentally, Northern Ireland is not a country.
    One of the many definitions is: “the territory of a nation”. So – is the Republic of Ireland a country?

  • Scáth Shéamais

    One of the things I’ve been following since I saw it raised by Éirígí is that there are tens of thousands of people who want work but are classified as economically inactive rather than unemployed. In the latest report this figure is 51,000 – almost as much as the official unemployment figure of 57,000 – and if you add the number into the mix then the unemployment rate jumps to about 12%.

    Similarly, the UK rate jumps from 8.2% to 14.5%.

    The South’s system is of course different but from what I can gather their unemployment rate would rise to 15.1%.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    Don’t quote me on that figure for the South, by the way, I found their stats difficult to parse.

  • Mick Fealty

    For a slightly longer term perspective, here’s what the JRF Monitor of Poverty and Social Exclusion had to say on work rates in the two ‘places’:

    At 66.4 per cent, the employment rate in Northern Ireland was higher than the EU average of 64.5 per cent in 2011. It had remained broadly unchanged compared with 66.2 per cent in 2006.

    It was substantially higher than the rate in the Republic of Ireland, which saw a massive fall in employment from 68.1 per cent in 2006 to 59.1 per cent in 2011, with most of the reduction taking place between the recessionary quarters of 2008 and 2009.

    So, before the recession, work rates were lower in Northern Ireland than in the Republic. After the recession, the opposite is true.

  • For those who might wish to read it: JRF report [pdf file]

  • weidm7

    Scáth Shéamais, for the economically less-literate, what does it mean to want work but be classified as economically inactive?

    6.7% seems incredibly low, the south had 4% even at the best of times, it seems strange considering the constant moaning about the NI economy, is it perhaps doing better than we thought, or is it all just state jobs draining the UK budget?

  • Scáth Shéamais

    People who want work are classified as economically inactive because they’re not considered to be ‘actively’ seeking work. Illness is sometimes given as one of the reasons for this, as an example.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    6.7%? That’s saying NI has almost full employment! As was already alluded to if an economy has 4-5% that’s essentially full employment as there will be always be people moving between jobs or those who for whatever reason, are unemployable.

    Also, I wonder what impact do the actual payments have on the stats e.g for a single male unemployed 25 y-o €188 per week in the Republic, around £65 in the North?

  • Mick Fealty

    The UK generally did okay in terms of jobs and employment, not just Northern Ireland. It helps being in the Sterling zone. The lack of new jobs will have a cumulative effects, like south starting most dramatically at the youth end.. And working up

  • wild turkey

    “Is it not curious that NI has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the UK [Table 20] and Ireland yet it is one of the most economically inactive regions [link from here to XLS tables]? Is there an official explanation for this?”

    Nevin, the unemployment rate is calculated as the percentage of the economically active who are not in paid employment. usually it is claimant based.

    the economically inactive, ie those not in work or seeking employment, those who are retired, not working due to a long term disability/illness, literally don’t count when calculating unemployment rates.

    i seem to recall that one of the tory scams in the late 80s/early 90s was the movement of people off the unemployment register and onto some disability benefit. as a result they disappear from the unemployment and the economically active and hey presto! the unemployment will, cet par, tend to be lower.

    for example, in a labour force of 1000, 100 are unemployed. the unemployment rate is 10%. now if 50 of those unemployed then are in defined as long-term sick/disabled, there are now only 50 unemployed and the unemployment rate is 50/950, which is a lot closer to 5%.

    hope this makes some kinda sense


  • wt, I suppose encouraging folks to spend more of their life in education would also then have a beneficial effect on these unemployment figures.

  • lamhdearg2

    Y.T.S., anyone?.

  • BluesJazz

    Wild Turkey


    Even this rate does not include the massive public sector ’employment’ like the majority of the NI Civil Service, who are in paid ’employment’ but do not actually do any substantive work. They might pretend to, but they are of no productive value whatsoever.

    Then we have the hugely underemployed council workers, psni, quangos who are part time workers earning a (highly paid) full time wage.

    London pays, so no-one complains.

  • antamadan

    Good news from NI definitely. I wonder are southerners moving north, or maybe northerners moving back north, where so many had moved south during the Celtic tiger years?

  • weidm7

    Hopefully any unionists who moved south for work, might come back realising the south isn’t the Sinn Féin nightmare they had been led to believe and that they might be better off united with their southern countrymen.

  • wild turkey

    “they are of no productive value whatsoever”

    BluesJazz. Maybe yes. maybe no …..

    but Definitely good entertainment value. ever follow the Public Accounts Committee? puts CSI to shame. my favourite episode was the NI Water saga, especially the compelling Paul Priestly.

    i used to work, sorry wrong word, i used to be employed in quangoland. i left after refusing to go to a meeting about a meeting which in turn was about a, um, meeting.