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Unemployment rate holds steady at 4.8% in November – CSO

The unemployment rate held steady at 4.8% in November to remain at the lowest level in almost 13 years, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show. 

The CSO said the seasonally adjusted number of people who were unemployed stood at 117,800 in November, up marginally from October.  

But when compared to November last year, there was an annual decrease of 17,600 in the number of people who are without a job. 

The CSO unemployment data has been subject to sharp revisions in both directions in recent quarters.

An original estimate that the rate had fallen to a low of 4.5% in June was marked sharply up following the release of more detailed data. 

The jobless rate in November was down from 5.6% a year ago as the European Union’s fastest growing economy approaches full employment, where just about everyone who wants a job has one.

Today’s figures also show that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for men in November was 5.3%, unchanged from October and down from 5.6% the same time last year.

Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for females was 4.2% in November, down from 4.3% in October and down from 5.7% in November of last year.

But the seasonally adjusted youth unemployment rate rose to 12.5% in November from 12.2% the previous month.

Commenting on today’s figures, Andrew Webb, chief economist at Grant Thornton Ireland, said the labour market has finished the year in a very strong position. 

He said that while this is positive news for families, businesses are reportedly finding it increasingly difficult to recruit new staff, with some beginning to experience a skills shortage. 

“Finding and retaining labour could prove to be the big challenge of 2020,” Mr Webb said.

He also said that increasing attention is turning to the “underemployed” – people who are in part-time employment looking to increase their hours. 

According to the Labour Force Survey published last week, around 112,000 people fall under this category. 

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