By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — Though the pace of employment growth is slowing, the economy will create 65,000 net new jobs to the end of next April, according to a labor market review undertaken for FAS, the training and employment agency.
Economist Terry Corcoran said that although there would be a slowdown in the creation of manufacturing jobs there would still be "exceptional growth by international standards."
The survey predicts a further drop of 20,000 in the number of jobless, which will bring the unemployment rate down to 6.5 percent at the end of April, compared with 7.2 percent at the end of November.
He said the main reason for the slowdown in manufacturing sectors would be the fallout from the Asian economic crisis.
"The slowdown has come later than people expected and it probably is less dramatic than people expected," he said.
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FAS employment offices have reported a 30 percent increase in job vacancies being notified to them in the year to November compared to the same time the previous year.
Corcoran said that employers are having increased difficulty in recruiting new staff.
"There was a very, very sharp acceleration in employment growth in late 1997," Corcoran said. "By the standards of the late 1980s and the early 1990s when unemployment was extremely high and recruitment was very, very easy, companies have had to use alternative methods of both getting employees and holding onto to them."
In the year to April 1998, there were 95,000 extra at work. With retirements and other job movements there were probably another 50,000 to 60,000 jobs filled during the year, according to Corcoran.
The most marked fall in unemployment is in the youth market. Only 11.4 percent of last year’s school leavers are still without a job compared to 25 percent in 1993 when the jobs boom began.
The number of long-term unemployed has also fallen sharply from 9 percent in 1993 to 3.9 percent.
Many more women are also working — up from 39 percent of those aged 25 to 44 years in 1993 to 63 percent in 1998.