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General Labour Market Trends in Ireland

There were about 4.5 million persons residing in the Republic of Ireland in the last quarter of 2008 (Figure 1.1). There were approximately 930,000 persons who were younger than 15, while those aged 65 and above amounted to just under half a million.


The working age population (15-64) was estimated at 3 million, two thirds of which were in employment. In addition, there were 45,000 older persons (aged 65+) in employment, bringing total national employment in quarter 4 2008 to 2.05 million. This is 50,000 fewer than in quarter 2 2007.


There were approximately 170,000 unemployed persons in quarter 4 2008, an increase of 70,000 when compared to quarter 2 2007.


Of the 870,000 economically inactive persons in quarter 4 2008, 40% were engaged in home duties, over a third were students, 7% were retired, with the remainder being inactive for other reasons. This distribution is in line with that of quarter 2 2007, although there were 44,000 additional persons in the economically inactive category overall in quarter 4 2008. The increase is partly due to the reduced employment opportunities and the fall in real wages which has discouraged some workers from participating in the labour market.


Figure 1.1 Population by Labour Status in Quarter 4, 2008


Source: Skillsireland


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