Unemployment falls to pandemic low as economy bounces back

The State's unemployment rate, including people receiving temporary Covid-19 jobless benefits, fell to 6.9 per cent in November from 7.9 per cent in October.
Unemployment falls to pandemic low as economy bounces back

New figures show Ireland's unemployment rate is falling as the economy bounces back.

The State's unemployment rate, including people receiving temporary Covid-19 jobless benefits, fell to 6.9 per cent in November from 7.9 per cent in October, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said on Wednesday.

Excluding Pandemic Unemployment Payments (PUP), which will be withdrawn in February, the rate was unchanged at 5.2 per cent.

According to the CSO, there were an estimated 179,720 people either out of work or in receipt of the PUP in November.

As reported in The Irish Times, exchequer returns on Thursday and the latest national accounts from the Central Statistics Office on Friday are likely detail a significant jump in output and economic activity following the easing of restrictions.

However, the emergence of the new Omicron variant could cause further economic disruption. There are also concerns over staff shortages in certain sectors.

“Warnings of labour shortages in sectors including hospitality, retail and construction have all been sounded in recent weeks, and the ability of businesses to accommodate the Christmas rush may be constrained due to a lack of staff,” Jack Kennedy, economist with recruitment site Indeed, said.

“Whilst this is challenging for business owners, it puts workers in a strong position to seek wage increases, and we can expect labour cost inflation to be a feature of 2022, alongside other inflationary pressures such as energy prices,” he added.

According to Mr Kennedy, further restrictions could once again negatively impact unemployment figures.

“In the past week Indeed has noted a slight dip in postings for jobs from the hospitality and food service sector, perhaps indicating nervousness about rehiring due to the Covid spike,” he said.

- Additional reporting from Reuters

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