The National Accounts suggest that the activity peak was about Q2 2007, so the last reading on pre-recession employment was about Q1 2007. The QNHS published yesterday gives Q1 data for 2007, 2008 and 2009 on the new basis. Figs in 000 are from the sa Table 3.
Sector Q1 07 Q1 08 Q1 09 % Chg 09/07
Agriculture 108.9 116.9 102.7 -5.7
Industry 305.3 288.1 268.6 -12.0
Construction 270.7 256.6 184.0 -32.0
‘Public Sector’ 453.2 463.7 480.7 +6.1
All Other 963.1 1013.6 945.3 -1.8
Tot Employment 2101.2 2138.9 1981.3 -5.3
Unemployed 98.5 109.9 223.4 +126.8
Labour Force 2199.7 2247.6 2203.0 +0.2
‘Public Sector’ is the sum of NACE categories O, P, Q, Public Administration, Education and Health, and includes over 100K not formally public servants. Some commercial Semi State employees are in Industry. The most dramatic collapse is in Construction, down 32%, with Industry down 12%. The OPQ ‘Public Sector’ has grown 6%, and is the only sector exempted from the downturn thus far. The quarterly peak was actually in Q4 08 and there are now recruitment curbs and budget cuts, so this sector may turn negative through 2009. But to date, the OPQ sector has added 27,500 since the downturn started (+6.1%) while the rest of the economy has shed 147,400 (-8.9%).
The propagation of the employment contraction out of construction in 07 into the rest of the private economy in 08 is clear. The QNHS unemployment rate grew from 4.5% to just 4.9% through 07, but soared to 10.2% in the four quarters to Q1 09. Since the most sharply-contracting sector has a mainly male workforce, an interesting effect is that 45.1% of the employed workforce is now female, an all-time record. Labour force growth has ceased and the participation rate has been dropping steadily for a year. In total employment terms, the fastest decline was in the most recent quarter, and with probably not a single sector now expanding, the Q2 figures will hardly bring much joy.