IBEC, the group that represents Irish business, today said that new CSO figures, which show a third consecutive quarter of annual employment growth, provide further evidence that the labour market recovery is now firmly underway. The group said it is important that positive trends are not undermined by the upcoming budget, and called on €500 million of planned tax rises to be dropped.
Commenting on the CSO’s Q2 2013 Quarterly National Household Survey, IBEC Senior Economist Reetta Suonperä said: “All the labour market indicators are now pointing in the right direction. Employment has increased on an annual basis for three consecutive quarters, and unemployment has fallen below the 300,000 mark.
“Underneath the headline figures, the more detailed indicators also support this picture of strengthening recovery. Full-time employment recorded the first annual increase since the start of 2008. Fewer people reported themselves to be underemployed, and long-term unemployment, while still high, is down from its peak.
“These positive developments are driven by improving trends in the private sector. Irish businesses added 21,400 jobs over the last 12 months, while self-employment was up by 11,500.
“Most encouragingly, the recovery appears to be relatively broad based. Employment in tourism and hospitality is up by nearly 10% annually, thanks to strong visitor numbers. Professional, scientific and technical activities also added to employment. Industry has now reported two consecutive quarters of rising employment. Even the construction sector added jobs for the first time since 2007.
“The most recent data on the economy paint a picture of strengthening recovery. However, the situation remains fragile and over the last year we have seen green shoots give way to renewed weakness.
“Confidence is the key for a sustained recovery. Budget 2014 is an opportunity for Government to instil confidence among consumers and businesses. Plans to increase tax by €500 million should be dropped.”