The main unemployment rate was 4.1% in July on a seasonally adjusted basis, down from 4.2% in June and down from a level of 4.2% twelve months ago. The seasonally adjusted number of people unemployed fell by 3,600 in July but was up by 100 in the past 12 months.
Jack Kennedy, senior economist at global job site Indeed, comments on the latest CSO data:
“The labour market remains incredibly tight with the unemployment rate at 4.1% — the joint-record lowest since 2001 according to the latest revised figures— and is proving resilient amidst global challenges. The continuing low level of Ireland’s unemployment rate reflects the culmination of concerted efforts by both the public and private sectors to foster a robust and sustainable economy.
Recent data from Eurostat shows that the Eurozone economy returned to growth in the second quarter, as the euro area grew 0.3 per cent in the three months to July, after stagnating in the previous quarter. Unemployment in the eurozone also dipped to a new all-time low of 6.4%. This is an indication that the economy is stabilising; however, it is essential to remain cautious and vigilant.
Economic success is not without challenges, and as the labour market remains at near full employment, the coming months could reveal sector squeezes.
Pay pressures remain strong and workers will push for higher wages to compensate for high inflation. That said, wage pressures may be past their peak. The Indeed Wage Tracker, based on advertised pay for new hires, showed a further easing to 4.3% y/y in June, down from a peak of 5.5% in March.
This corresponds with a gradual softening in employers’ hiring appetite, though the latter remains strong. The latest figures from Indeed show that job postings on Indeed Ireland are 30% above the pre-pandemic baseline as of July 2023 (Fig. 1).
The country’s commitment to nurturing a highly skilled and educated workforce has bolstered productivity and competitiveness. As we remain at full employment, now is the time to future-proof the Irish economy. Prioritising various educational routes, including apprenticeships, and investing in sustainable career options for young people who might otherwise seek to emigrate, can ensure our highly talented workforce remains a key driver of economic growth.