QHNS Q3 2013

The CSO have published the latest Quarterly National Household Survey: Press release and Main release.

Employment is up 58,000 in the year.  Full-time employment accounts 53,500 of that.  Concerns about the distribution of the numbers employed into each sector remain (particularly the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector).  There was a 30,200 increase in the numbers self-employed and a 27,300 increase in the number of employees.

Unemployment using the QNHS is now at 282,900, a drop of 41,700 over the year.  Self-classified unemployment is at 326,700 down 45,000 in the last 12 months.

The unemployment rate was 13.0 percent in Q3 (seasonally adjusted 12.8 percent).  Using the Live Register the CSO project that the SA rate in October was 12.6 percent.

The labour force has increased by 16,000 in the same time with a 0.5pp annual increase in the participation rate to 60.7 percent.

The number unemployed for one year or longer fell 27,800 of which 25,800 were males.  The long-term unemployment rate is 7.6 percent (8.9 percent a year ago).

Youth unemployment (15-24) has fallen from 74,000 to 60,400 with the youth unemployment rate at 26.5 percent.  The youth unemployment ratio is 10.3 percent. 

There is lots more detail in the release.  The Earnings and Labour Costs Survey for Q3 has also been released.

62 replies on “QHNS Q3 2013”

Strange all round- either productivity is collapsing or GDP will be extremely strong in q3, which sits uneasily with the tax data. Pay is also falling sharply in nominal terms, despite strong labour demand, or perhaps the rise in employment reflects a neo-classical switch from capital to cheaper labour?..

I would go with a big growth surprise rather than a collapse in productivity. The tax take will pick up when the revenue catches up with the informal economy. Pay is falling because the mix the labour force is changing towards lower paid private sectors where rent seeking is less possible. We have more waiters, farmers and fishermen and less lawyers and public servants. Figures are bad news for those of us hoping for opportunity presented by crisis. Good news for Chairman Mayo.

The jobs figures look very positive but the 2.4% drop in weekly earnings is a bit of a surprise. Hard to square the two reports off.

From your POV as a highly paid underworked humanities lecturer with surplus time, I would have thought you would welcome cheaper domestic servants.

If the new jobs are of generally lower pay than average, the this could be a drag on the average weekly earnings.

Remember a few years ago in the depths of the recession the CSO released data which seemed to suggest that private sector employees weren’t taking wage cuts. The unions jumped on this but it turned out that the wage cuts were being offset by the fact that those being laid off had lower earnings on average therefore increasing average wages.

Could this be the reverse of that?

Q2 2013: Skilled Trades: Employed Males : 252,100
Q3 2013: Skilled Trades: Employed Males: 265,700
An increase of 13,600 in just three months. It sounds very high.

Could it be that a number of people are regularising their situation?

Q3 2011: Employment in Ag/Forestry/Fishing: 73,100
Q3 2013: Employment in Ag/Forestry/Fishing: 97,400
A 33% increase in two years.
The stamps must have run out on the people who went back to the farms.
Or Coillte managers, having given up on their privatization bonus’, have decided to start replanting again.
Or the fishing is so good that many unemployed are giving it a try.
Who knows!

Either way, its all good news.

The allocation among categories remains uncertain even though the CSO would say that the overall employment level is accurate with margin of error of about 9,000.

The big rises in agriculture/forestry and the tourism sectors would tend to support this. both have been doing up but not booming.

I said when the Q2 results were published that part of the 12-month increase may reflect understatements in earlier quarters.

In this 12 month period the CSO says self-employment without employees rose by 28,400 – if reliable this reflects difficulty in getting work rather than entrepreneurship, apart from those in the PS call a crony scheme (the pensioned who are on call as consultants).

Today’s news is generally welcome but the champagne should be kept on ice.

About 80,000 unemployed people are in public-funded back-to-work/and back-to-education schemes (activation programs) but they are counted as employed or in education. In the QNHS, 139,000 in part-time work say they are seeking full-time employment. Net emigration by Irish nationals in 2009-2013 was at 95,000.

Part of the 50,000 in activation programs who are not in education, maybe included in the 139,000 of underemployed.
The broad rate of unemployment is over 20%.

Great figures. At this rate (and it should end up being a faster rate) we’ll be below 200k unemployed by Autumn 2015 – heading into a general election. Ireland needs 5 more years of FG/Lab before the yahoos get back in to wreck it again.

The most encouraging thing is the composition of the population of those with jobs – it will be as healthy as it has been since the late 90s as well. Public sector numbers will be much lower, numbers in construction will be at a much healthier level.


“Figures are bad news for those of us hoping for opportunity presented by crisis.”

Really? Better to have unemployment rising to encourage more reform? Sounds like various extreme leftists in the 1970s who were happy with fascist attacks as these would make the proletariat more ‘revolutionary’.

@ Seamus Coffey

“Youth employment (15-24) has fallen from 74,000 to 60,400 with the youth unemployment rate at 26.5 percent. The youth unemployment ratio is 10.3 percent. ”

The other way around? Youth unemployment has fallen? Table 7a.

Figure 6 shows the unequal impact on jobs/loss recovery across age ranges, 2010 – 2013.


I don’t buy into the idea that we can’t have reform during a boom. I actually think the electorate are hungry for continued reform as long as it isn’t half baked. It will be a struggle though – just look at who has gone on strike or threatened to do so over the last 5 years. ESB workers, doctors, secondary school teachers… those with their noses deepest in the trough don’t take kindly to even the most gentle dietary advice.

This is terrible news, clearly. I suspect its so bad we’ll have no more than 25 comments on this subject, but 250 on the fantasy idea of burning senior bondholders.

More seriously, it is interesting that many of the usual malcontents are nowhere to be found on here yet. Speak now ye merchants of doom.

@Eoin Bond

The cycle of denial-emotions for the malcontents goes something like:

1. Suspicion – (the data are rigged).
2. Scepticism – (emigration! JobBridge!).
3. Bewilderment (how can this be true – all the people I interact with told me the world was going to end?).
4. Fear – (oh noes – it’s really happening!)
5. Grief (my recession! my beautiful recession!).
6. Acceptance (benchmarking III now!).

@Seamus — As Gavin Kostick notes above there is a typo in the seventh line from the bottom, “youth employment” should be “youth unemployment”.

Who was it that said ” a lot done, more to do” ?
And what will the latest numbers mean for demand ?

From that FT link:

So 1% annual growth is now “spectacular.”

Did someone say “secular stagnation”?

Who said this?

While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules.

[. . .]

In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

Ah, but he doesn’t understand how the world works…


“The jobs figures look very positive but the 2.4% drop in weekly earnings is a bit of a surprise. Hard to square the two reports off.”

Could it be that significant amounts of overtime were being worked, and employers that had been reluctant to recruit extra staff, made the decision to recruit. In addition new entrants coming into employment are coming in at very low rates.

There definitely has been a perceptible lift in construction and in construction related manufacturing in Sept /Oct/Nov. Why some of this did not find its way into October tax returns is a little surprising notwithstanding that many of the workers are, in tax terms, self-employed that do not return monthly tax payments.

[Personally I put a some of the lift down to NAMA finally spending some money in office refurbishment, particularly in the Dublin region.]

@ Ernie

“From that FT link:
So 1% annual growth is now “spectacular.”
Did someone say “secular stagnation”?

Jaysus Ernie, were you the guy who edited that WHO report that erroneously suggested half of Greek AIDS cases were self inflicted?

The actual FT quote is quite different to what you suggested:
““It is spectacular, and against all expectations that employment is growing at around 2.5 per cent, while gross domestic product is struggling to achieve over 1 per cent growth”

@ Ernie Ball

The Pope and I claim my e5.

@ Gregory/Seamus

I’m having difficulty making sense of the figures for young people (15-24)

The row, table 7a, is:

Total 15-24 (Youths) 172.4 163.8 167.0 / 73.3 74.0 60.4 / 245.7 237.8 227.4

With the figures being Q3 11,12,,13 employed / Q3 11,12,13 unemployed / Q3 11,12,13 in labour force.

So, yes, you can say youth unemployment has fallen, but that is off the back of withdrawal from the labour force, particularly amongst young women. What is happening do you think?

@ All

I think increased employment is good news. I don’t like, either as a theory or attempted in practice, human suffering to be used to advance certain goals. I don’t even like the whole NAIRU thing as it implies that a chunk of society must be unemployed at any given time.

I think it is reasonable to say we’re still looking at mass unemployment, taking the 12.8% figure or the broader 20%, figure above. The Fed., is perhaps considering tapering (and UK similarly) at the high level of over 7%. At this rate it will take five years to get back to full employment – but a pick-up would be welcome.

Fed won’t taper until 6% at earliest,bet the farm on it.

“The FOMC, and especially a Yellen-led FOMC, will put a lot of weight on the employment side of its mandate and it’s going to take a long time to get unemployment down to where the Fed wants it to be,” said Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius in a recent webcast. Hatzius said he expects the Fed to cut its threshold for unemployment to 6 percent from 6.5 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate currently stands at 7.3 percent.”

You are fairly safe on that…..would you taper earlier if it would cause the same interest rate reaction as we witnessed in July-Sept……They need more employment to take chance out of the equation. That delays things for Ireland perhaps. However, one of my favorites (and friend) and one of the most accurate economists over the last years in the US, Jim O’Sullivan, is optimistic. Jim is a commercial, as opposed to academic, economist, and therefore “lives and dies by the sword”, as opposed to the majority of PS (or PS supported) Irish economists posted here.


Jim is the one, “live” economist that I watch seriously (No Irish academic can hold anywhere near him). His news here is good….for the US and for Ireland.

@Paul W,will take a look it’s great news for Irl especially those on trackers.
They should go out and give it a lash for Crimbo,buy a second gaff or the first one.It won’t last indefinitely nows the time to leverage up to the hilt,lock your rate down too.

Many on trackers in Irl have no cash. However, opportunity beckons nis one has….?

It won’t be that black-n’-white. Is Ireland more dependent on Boston or Berlin…It is a hybrid, which doesn’t make the balancing act easy. More Berlin at present re politics; but economically is more Boston (so matters).

If it’s property, location, location, location…plus lock in the funding rate as you say. Plenty of time though….and watch out for international surprises in the interim. No obvious quick wins here.

Happy Thanksgiving.

When I say “no cash”, I mean no capital (or cash),

Don’t agree with more (net) leverage for the most privately leveraged country on earth…but it does provide opportunity for many to get it under more control….and come out the other side in a better way. If things recover enough, FI’s will cut-loose the baggage….

What you are also saying indirectly is that inflation is coming….but I would be highly cautious (for now) on that. Plenty time for the “common man” to join in if that transpires….but most people should follow the leaders and not be “shot” in no-mans-land if that’s how it goes.

Hold and hang tough. Hang in now.


Understanding Power – Noam Chomsky –

“Well, our economic system “works,” it just works in the interests of the masters, and I’d like to see one that works in the interests of the general population. And that will only happen when they are the “principal architects” of policy, to borrow Adam Smith’s phrase. I mean, as long as power is narrowly concentrated, whether in the economic or the political system, you know who’s going to benefit from the policies-you don’t have to be a genius to figure that out. That’s why democracy would be a good thing for the general public.
But of course, achieving real democracy will require that the whole system of corporate capitalism be completely dismantled-because it’s radically anti-democratic. And that can’t be done by a stroke of the pen, you know: you have to build up alternative popular institutions, which could allow control over society’s investment decisions to be moved into the hands of working people and communities. That’s a long job, it requires building up an entire cultural and institutional basis for the changes, it’s not something that’s just going to happen on its own. There are people who have written about what such a system might look like-kind of a “participatory economy,” it’s sometimes called.
But sure, that’s the way to go, I think.”

Last thing the Irish need is more debt encouragement (in he absence of Debt Service Capacity….DSC). How much more Joe Soap will be bled is an open issue….see the recent further raids on private pension funds….Once that is used up, it will be deposits in excess 100K as I have said before (such deposits will again try to depart beforehand…but the Govt is already monitoring…last 2 yrs).

The Moment of (Financial) Truth is approaching….Fiscal Council says no more room for maneuver…..If things get worse from here (or hereabouts), it will get much more ugly…..but there is always a chance that the US pulls up and pulls Ireland with it.

Macro, for Ireland, things need to improve internationally…..but time is getting shorter (the bookie odds are tightening…..by definition)

@Paul W,happy thanksgiving too was mobile today,read your link quite good.
I was being ironic,it’s all about the debt levels,reduction in unemployed is off course welcome.But it’s a bit like Mother’s Day who could possibly be against it.
So long as rates remain benign everything will remain the same,a “good”crisis wasted.
They will be back buying gaffs again,oh hold on…
Spending on Xmas like there’s no tomorrow …


Thanks for the spot. Now corrected.


Yes, both youth unemployment and employment are down. Without digging into it I would guess that demographics have a role to play. The birth here fell pretty dramatically from the early 1980s. In the late 80s there were still 60,000+ births/year but by the mid-90s that had fallen to 50,000 and lower.

Since Q3 2011 the number of people who self-classify as a student has increased by around 10,000 (though we don’t have a breakdown by age). And of course there is net outward migration which is undoubtedly an important demographic factor when assessing the 15-24 cohort.

The participation rate for 15-25 year olds has changed very little (Q3 ’11: 42.9% ; Q3 ’13: 42.5%) so it would seem that the population change factors are more important (births, migration). The population data from the CSO give an estimate of 577k for the 15-24 agegroup in 2011. The 2013 estimate is 533k.

@ Seamus

Thanks for that.

The unevenness of the fall in the labour force between young men and women, with fewer women both in absolute and relative terms, seems to suggest that birth rate can’t be the whole of the story: not that you’re suggesting it.

The employment rate for 20 -34 cohort rose by nearly 4 percentage points over the year to 84%. But what if the population estimate for this cohort is wrong. As you stare the CSO has estimated a fall of 43k over 2 years due to emigration. They could have allocated too much of the migration to this cohort.




Hmmm. so, are we being drowned at birth, getting preggers too early, or staying in education longer?

@ JG

“Bet the farm on it” is very culturally sensitive given what happened at the tail end of the boom in Ireland.

How optimistic are you about the ability of the US to drag the world economy into the glorious future of the likes of Johnny F?


“There was no shortage of buyers this week for new 10-year notes at a yield of 2.75 per cent, while more than half of the $16bn in 30-year bonds were bought by non-dealers. It will not be until the US economy gets back to full employment, that the economy will have pricing pressure, pre-recession growth, and therefore secularly rising rates
– Robert Kessler

One motivation for owning long-dated bonds resides in focusing on the other side of the Fed’s dual mandate: inflation – a topic that gets far less attention than the unemployment rate. With a current core rate of inflation running at 1.2 per cent, pricing pressures loiter well below the Fed’s target of 2 per cent.

Against that backdrop, long-term Treasury yields look appetising and it’s an unpleasant message that counters the equity market’s optimism that the economy is set to accelerate. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the biggest challenge facing central banks is how inflation is moving in the wrong direction, and that all the talk of higher bond yields from here is truly misplaced.“The sharpest tool central banks have to fight deflation is getting as many rates across the term structure, as low as possible,” says Robert Kessler, the noted investment adviser. “Our contention is that it will not be until the US economy gets back to full employment, that the economy will have pricing pressure, pre-recession growth, and therefore secularly rising rates.”
What is truly worrying is how US real average household income currently sits at a level last seen in late 1997, illustrating how the lack of wage growth is holding back a genuine recovery and any normalisation of bond yields.
Equity investors can cheer US monthly payroll growth expanding above 200,000 but unless incomes start rising, the recovery will remain lacklustre and at some point sow seeds of doubt among investors about how much higher stock prices can run.”

@seafoid it was a reference to tapering,but also to the penchant of Irish people to buy houses and spend the most in Europe at Christmas.Second link interactive map is quite cool.Basically from over here nothing has changed,bidding wars over badly built gaffs,shortage of suitable housing in major metro areas and over celebrating holidays.


The unstated policy in Irl is to artificially inflate house prices,seen the new Dublin numbers,oh maybe it’s all those now working buying !
One would think Asmussen’s interview in the IT would have some impact,nah just a shrug by most people.

@Johnny Foreigner,new entrants fuc**ed banished to the boonies!
BTL owners enjoying their port in the club.
So we can expect a major improvement in mtg arrears given the correlation to negative equity,unless…..


If you had €200k hanging around in an Irish bank account would you leave it there? Buying property makes sense if you’ve decided to live in Ireland – it seems as though they’ll steal the money from your account before they’ll repossess the house.

@JF that’s great news for the banks trying to build their deposit bases,they should hit the wholesale markets hard again then…

@ JF

Debt overhang still massive
It’s all very fragile IMO
I wonder how much longer the stock market will roar.
Are you expecting a great rotation next year?

Yeah but at least next time we won’t have to bail out the Irish banks when they go bust… and if you believe that I have some lovely development land I’d like to sell you, just outside Kiltimagh.

@John Gallagher

One would think Asmussen’s interview in the IT would have some impact,nah just a shrug by most people.

Have to say you have lost me there John – Asmussen is the German enforcer at the ECB and his utterances are an unsurprising reflection of the German position, which has always been hostile to Ireland’s interests. If anything his threats are a positive thing, the more publicly upset the Germans are the more likely sanity is to eventually prevail.

Also, whats with the “over celebrating holidays” thing? I despise the winter consumer season but when you say that Ireland’s domestic problem is too much demand it is a real head shaker. I know the “economics” in this blogs title is increasingly incidental but if the frugal and industrious Dutch get a pass….



Seems like the opposite of fragile to me – we’re headed for very modest growth (1-3% range) for the medium term and maybe that’s exactly what’s needed. We’re eating away at the debt elephant, one small bite at a time.

@JF i was hoping for a few repo’s in D4 I still fancy a dojo in Dublin.
But in fairness the unemployment numbers are great news,I’m less sanguine bout the housing numbers and the SME sector appears to be gasping for credit.
Was reading the IBI site last night,on vacation I know I need a hobby but came across this report which suggests a credit freeze.

“New lending to SMEs in the Construction sector decreased by 86.5% YoY in Q2’13 to just €5 million. Other sectors recording a decrease in the same period were Education (-85.7%), Information and Communication (-75.0%), Human Health and Social Work (-30.4%), Hotels and Restaurants (-24.1%), Business and Admin. Services (-18.8%), Manufacturing (-8.5%) and Wholesale/Retail Trade & Repairs (-6.5%). New lending to SMEs increased YoY in Q2’13 in the Transport and Storage sector (+17.6%) and the Other Community, Social and Personal Services sector (+5.9%).”


Driving 2% growth? In a country with so many natural economic advantages the answer is nothing – there are only things holding us back. The debt overhang is one thing. The euro is another. A small group of supremely incompetent spoofers running our most important institutions is the largest.

@John Gallagher

re: Asmussen in the Ir Times:

“Ireland’s decision not to apply for a precautionary programme means it currently does not fulfil this necessary condition.”

Deja vu all over again. A different ECB board but the same message. Keep the peripherals feet to the fire. Draghi must surely be getting sick of all this.
Objective: Harvest the Teutonic debt. Collateral damage doe not count.
Second objective: Read first objective.
Third objective: The Euro is a dead duck, collect the debt.

I sincerely hope we get an opportunity to tell Asmussen & Co where to go, before this is all over.
He is right about one thing. The future of the Euro will be decided in Italy and that future does not look rosy. That is why bringing home the debt is top of Asmussen’s and Weidmann’s agenda.
Germany has given a master class in how to protect its own interests.
How come Asmussen has not commented on the 7% trade surplus that Germany has for the past four years. Jens, my pal, Jens, said that had not enough time to deal with the topic at his last outing in Basel.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the crisis may be widely dubbed the “sovereign debt crisis”, but excessive public sector debt was not its only cause. A lack of competitiveness on the part of some member states, and excessive developments in the banking sector also played a decisive role in bringing about the crisis. But if I were to now discuss the macroeconomic imbalance procedure which was set up in response to the excessive economic misalignments, or the banking union, I would take all evening. ”

“I would take all evening” !

As we have had the same failed Teutonic policy imposed for over five years, how about devoting ‘one evening’ to trade imbalances. We might learn something.

@ Jospeh Ryan

It’s eye-gouging stuff. OMT is of national interest to all EZ members, yet none of Asmussen, Corrigan and Noonan can actually agree clearly what the situation is with regard to this one country. You can square what each are saying if you squint at it sideways (eyeballs allowing), but that really just gives one more layer of uncertainty.

@Joseph Ryan,that’s one way of looking at it but if your creditors were serious they would have insisted on this sale.Given the tsunami of capital out there looking for a home this beggars belief-looks like the base got a gimme here.
“The Minister noted that the sale process attracted significant interest from a broad range of potential international acquirers, reflecting the positive international sentiment towards Ireland, while noting also that current conditions in the power and commodity markets were not favourable.”

@Gavin/ JG
re OMT:

‘Words mean what I say they mean’. As Seafoid often observes, its all about power, and the beauty of power having the ability to do a straight-faced volte face, and keep ‘leading’. [What was that wonderful Lloyd George speech criticising the government about ‘leading’.]

The Weidmann speech is worth reading in full.
You begin to get a historic resonance in that speech.

re: Sale of State Assets:
I cannot agree with you re sale of State assets. In a crisis, no asset that is producing income should be sold if possible. The income is needed by the State and prospective purchasers want to buy the asset for nothing. Look at Russia. Ransacked in a matter of years. The beneficiaries then stomp the world stage, proclaiming the greatness of the mother Russia, neglecting to mention that they have just ransacked it.
And no asset should be put on the block, to satisfy illegitimate debts.

Note the changing rules:
On the one hand Six Pack, Two pack, MIP, S&G Pack, Utility Pack.
On the other hand none of these mattter, because apparently bust countries, regardless of debt/GDP ratio or deficit, must, MUST, backstop bust banks.
How does one square those seemingly sacrosanct commandments from the mountain?

A bit like:
Thou Shalt Not Kill, but
‘Kill them all, God will know the innocent.’ (Some Pope or other on the people (Albigensians, I think) holed up in Bezier, France.

Rules are made up by those in power to serve their interests; as their interests change, so do the rules.

@ Joseph Ryan

Paul Quigley had a great post a while ago on power


“As Bourdieu might say, the descriptive is also the performative.
Another of his aphorisms is that ‘the dominant retain their position by constantly changing their stance’. This leads to all sorts of real world contradictions, so the debate has to be structured is such a way as to ensure the ‘nonsensical aspect’ is concealed. This is traditionally achieved by limiting the scope of the debate, the number of ‘legitimate’ contributors, and shutting down alternative debates by force if necessary. “

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