Unemployment rate reaches all-time record low at 3.8%: Indeed

"Job postings offering remote and hybrid working remain high and have been consistently up threefold on pre-pandemic levels since February 2021," says Jack Kennedy, senior economist at global job site Indeed

Figures likely bode well for those searching for summer work in the coming months," says Indeed senior economist Jack Kennedy



2 June 2023

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CSO data reveals Ireland’s main unemployment rate was 3.8% in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, down from 3.9% in April and down from a level of 4.2% 12 months ago. Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted number of people unemployed was 103,300 in May, and fell by 8,700 in the past 12 months.

Jack Kennedy, senior economist at hiring platform Indeed, says that while the latest data is “impressive”, employers in certain sectors will nevertheless “likely have some tough hiring challenges ahead”.

“The rate of unemployment fell in May to 3.8% hitting a new low since records began in 1998 and reflecting a pattern of sustained reductions in joblessness in 2023,” said Kennedy. “Since January of this year (4.3%) the main unemployment rate has fallen steadily to a revised 4.1% in February, 4% in March and 3.9% in April. 

“The unemployment rate was last at 3.9% between October 2000 and April 2001. This was at the height of the Celtic Tiger. Any rate below 4% signals that the country is at ‘full employment’. The rate of unemployment has never been recorded at less than 3.9% before.  

“The record figures are impressive and a sign of a strong performing Irish economy despite other pressures such as the rising cost of living,” he continued. “A record low in the unemployment rate can create a new set of challenges, however, as employers in certain sectors will likely have some tough hiring challenges ahead. Recent Indeed data shows that some jobs in engineering and construction are particularly difficult to fill right now.

“Given the season, this could be positive news for those looking to get on the employment ladder, particularly those searching for summer work in the coming months. Often landing that first job can be the toughest, and summer jobs have traditionally provided a good way for students and those beginning their careers to get some experience and see how businesses work from the ground up. 

“With a tighter labour market in play employers will need to be more open to hiring those without previous experience. Apart from a chance to build their CV, this might also provide some much-needed supplementary income for those in families who are struggling with the rising cost of living.

“The ongoing reduction in the unemployment rate is also leading to a high demand for workers as illustrated by Indeed’s own data. Our latest research shows job postings on our site remain elevated for Ireland so far this year. 

“As of May 19, job postings — a real-time measure of labour market activity — were 53% above the February 1, 2020, pre-pandemic baseline, seasonally adjusted. The occupations in which postings were farthest above pre-pandemic levels include healthcare and social care-related occupations, alongside agriculture and cleaning & sanitation. 

“In Indeed’s latest job postings research just four categories were below the pre-pandemic baseline: media & communications, IT operations & helpdesk, legal and software development. 

“Notably, the research also showed that the gap in job posting trends between Dublin and the rest of Ireland has continued to widen. Postings in Dublin are just 12% above pre-pandemic levels, while postings in the rest of the country are up by 124% over the same period.”



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