The rate of unemployment measures the percentage of people who are not in work, but who are available for and actively seeking work.

It is generally accepted that zero unemployment is unlikely, even when an economy is operating at full capacity. This is due to various factors such as availability of job information, skills and education and the degree of labour mobility. For this reason, a full rate of employment is generally considered to exist when unemployment is around 4% in an economy.

Short-term Trends


Unemployment Rate %
CSO – Labour Force Survey

Long Term Trends

The Irish economy has gone through significant structural change since 2008. This is particularly reflected in the employment numbers in the economy. The number of persons in employment has now surpassed its previous peak recorded in Q1 2008, reaching 2.23 million as of Q4 2017. The latest figures available show that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the EU-28 for January 2018 was 7.3% compared to seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate of 6.2% for Ireland for the same period.


Source: Statistical Yearbook of Ireland 2016