The latest National Household Survey figures for the third quarter of the year show the rate of job creation has slowed significantly.
Most of the jobs are being created in the public sector, where the numbers increased in health (plus-11,500), public administration and defense (plus-5,800) and education (plus-3,100).
Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy’s hairshirt estimates and the cutback in government spending to 2 percent next year is expected to lead to a hiring freeze in many of these areas of the public sector next year. That will likely accelerate the trend of rising unemployment.
In contrast to the public sector, the figures show the number employed in industry was down 16,800, or 5 percent, in the first nine months of the year.
The numbers in productive industry jobs were down 11,100 in the quarter, there was a loss of 13,000 plant and machine operative jobs, farm and fishing employment was down 4,600 and the finance sector lost 1,600 jobs.
The figures also show the number of hours worked has dropped — indicating there is less overtime available. This will lead to less consumer spending.
The number of jobs increased in the third quarter to 1,794,800, representing an increase of just 8,200, or 0.5 percent, in the year. Those in short-term jobs accounted for all of the increase.
The annual rate of increase was significantly lower than the 1.9 percent recorded in the second quarter and the 2.7 percent growth in the third quarter.
The number of women in jobs increased by over 13,000 in the year, while the number of men at work was down by 5,000. The unemployment rate for males was 4.8 percent compared with 4.3 percent for females.
The worsening employment situation hit younger workers in particular. There were 15,200 less aged 15-19 at work this year compared to 2001.
The figures also reveal significant ill health with 10 percent of adults, or 271,000 people, indicating that they had a longstanding health problem or disability.
Just over 40 percent of the sufferers aged between 15 and 64 are in jobs. This compares to an overall rate of 65 percent of the total population in the same age category.