Up to 350,000 non-Ir­ish here - 25pc above CSO fig­ures

Irish Independent - - Business - Bren­dan Keenan

THERE are prob­a­bly up to 350,000 for­eign­ers liv­ing in Ire­land, a se­nior statis­ti­cian said yes­ter­day — 25pc more than show up in sur­veys by the Cen­tral Sta­tis­tics Of­fice.

CSO di­rec­tor Bill Keat­ing was pre­sent­ing labour force fig­ures for July-Septem­ber, which showed 83,500 more peo­ple were em­ployed than the same time last year.

About half the new jobs went to im­mi­grants, with an es­ti­mated 48,000 find­ing work over the year. Mr Keat­ing said the quar­terly sur­vey of 40,000 house­holds may un­der­state the num­ber of for­eign­ers in the coun­try.

“While the over­all re­sponse to the sur­vey is about 90pc, we feel it is sig­nif­i­cantly less for im­mi­grants.

“We must wait for the 2006 cen­sus, but our best es­ti­mate is that the num­ber of non-na­tion­als may be 300,000-350,000, rather the 280,000 recorded in the sur­vey,” he said.

De­spite the huge num­ber of im­mi­grants, the labour force is ex­pand­ing at the same rate, as em­ploy­ment grows rapidly in build­ing, health­care and the pub­lic ser­vice sec­tors.

The labour force grew by al­most 92,000, push­ing the un­em­ploy­ment rate up slightly from 4.4pc to 4.5pc.

Build­ing and health­care ac­counted for more than half the new jobs, with the work­force in both in­creas­ing by about a tenth.

Work­force

A quar­ter of the 19,000 ex­tra jobs in health were part-time, and many seem to be in ar­eas like care as­sis­tance.

De­spite slow­down num­bers in­creased by now ac­count pre­dic­tions of a in con­struc­tion,

em­ployed over 10pc and for more than 13pc of to­tal em­ploy­ment. An­a­lysts said that, while house-build­ing may have peaked, non-res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion is strong, led by gov­ern­ment in­vest­ment.

Ex­clud­ing health, pub­lic sec­tor em­ploy­ment also grew strongly, with pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion jobs up 4.8pc and ed­u­ca­tion by 3.3pc in the twelve months.

Whole­sale and re­tail firms added an ex­tra 3.9pc to their work­force, with the num­ber of im­mi­grants em­ployed in re­tail in­creas­ing by al­most a third over the past year.

How­ever, an­a­lysts noted that the pace of job cre­ation may be slow­ing. “The twelve-month in­crease of 4.2pc was down from 4.6pc in the sec­ond quar­ter and the slow­est ex­pan­sion in more than a year,” said Davy Stock­bro­kers econ­o­mist Rossa White. “Private ser­vices em­ploy­ment was up only 0.2pc in the quar­ter.”

“Un­em­ploy­ment did tick up,” said Der­mot O’Leary of Good­body Stock­bro­kers. “Most of this was due to non-Ir­ish na­tion­als, whose un­em­ploy­ment rate rose from 4.6pc to 5.6pc, while the rate for Ir­ish-born peo­ple was steady at 2.8pc.

“But even ex­clud­ing con­struc­tion and health, other em­ploy­ment in­creased by an im­pres­sive 3.4pc.”

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