Official figures show that the percentage of people in work in the second quarter of this year was the highest since 1998, when the Central Statistics Office (CSO) began compiling the figures.
The CSO’s Labour Force Survey also showed that people worked a record number of hours per week in the second quarter, as absences from work dropped.
The number of people in work in the second quarter of this year was 2,554,600 – up 8.7% compared with the same period last year, when COVID-19 restrictions were still in place.
This meant that 73.5% of people aged from 15 to 64 were in work – up from 68.6% a year earlier, and the highest figure on record.
Fewer absences from work
Employment rose in most economic sectors, with the biggest increase – almost 40% – coming in accommodation and food service.
The CSO pointed out, however, that the 168,200 working in this area was still below the 2019 pre-pandemic figure of 180,800.
The CSO calculates the number of absences from work – including temporary lay-offs, family leave, or holidays – using a reference week. This figure showed a 15% drop to 187,200.
This, combined with the increase in employment, resulted in an increase of 9.4% or 7.1 million more hours worked per week to a record 83 million hours per week in the second quarter of 2022.
Youth unemployment falls
The survey showed that 119,900 people were unemployed in the quarter, giving an unemployment rate of 4.5%.
The youth unemployment rate dropped from just over 21% a year earlier to 11.4%.
The percentage of people who have been out of work for more than a year fell to 1.2% – down from 2% a year earlier.