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

There was an annual increase in employment of 2.4% or 53,700 in the year to the third quarter of 2019, bringing total employment to 2,326,900. Employment increased in 9 of the 14 economic sectors over the year as end of third quarter 2019. The largest rates of increase were recorded in Financial, insurance and real estate activities (+12.9% or +13,000) and in Public administration and defence; compulsory social security (+9.8% or 10,200) sectors.

The latest figures available indicate that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the EU-28 for November 2019 was 6.3% compared to the revised seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate of 4.8% for Ireland for the same period.


Source: Eurostat