Jobless rate steady at 5.3% in September despite Brexit concerns

Jobless rate steady at 5.3% in September despite Brexit concerns

New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the unemployment rate remained at 5.3% in September compared to August.

The jobless rate has crept higher in recent months due to Brexit concerns, but it is still very low compared to the financial crisis when it soared to 16%.

The country’s unemployment rate is also below the current euro zone average of of 7.4%.

Today’s CSO figures show that the seasonally adjusted number of people who were unemployed stood at 126,900 in September, down from 127,500 the previous month.

There was an annual decrease of 7,500 in the number of people without a job in September compared to the same time last year, the CSO added.

Today’s figures reveal that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for men in September was also unchanged at 5.5% from August, while the rate for women fell to 4.9% from 5.1%.

They also showed that the seasonally adjusted youth unemployment rate for persons stood at 14.8% in September, unchanged from the previous month.

Commenting on today’s figures, Pawel Adrjan, economist at global job site Indeed, noted that demand for staff was strong across most parts of the economy with the construction sector particularly competitive.

But the economist said the impact of a hard Brexit remains a considerable downside risk, with rural Ireland considerably more exposed than Dublin.

“The border counties of Cavan and Monaghan have the biggest proportion of jobs in Brexit-exposed sectors. Counties with a strong reliance on agriculture – including Tipperary, Wexford and Kilkenny – are also heavily exposed given the shock to food exports to the UK that a no-deal Brexit could mean,” he added.

Independent economist Alan McQuaid said that after the pick up in unemployment in the second quarter of the year, the falls in August and September are encouraging.

He said he believes the numbers in work will continue to rise on an annual basis over the remainder of 2019.

“The average jobless rate is now projected to fall to 5.2% this year from 5.8% in 2018. A jobless rate of 5% is currently forecast for 2020, but that assumes Ireland avoids a hard Brexit, Mr McQuaid said.

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