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Irish Payrolls Fell in Second Quarter, Showing ‘Long Haul’ Ahead

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Irish payrolls declined in the second quarter, with economists saying the country faces a “long haul” to reducing unemployment.

Employment fell by 33,400, or 1.8 percent, to 1.79 million people from a year ago, the Central Statistics Office in Cork said today. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the number of people in work fell 0.8 percent from the first quarter, with the jobless rate holding at 14.8 percent.

“There is no easy fix,” Alan McQuaid, chief economist at Merrion Stockbrokers in Dublin, said in a note today. “With the global economy in a slowdown phase, the labor market is expected to remain under pressure for some time to come. Anecdotal evidence suggests that emigration is playing a big part in keeping down the numbers unemployed.”

Unemployment in Ireland, once dubbed Europe’s “Celtic Tiger,” has tripled since 2008 as the ending of a decade-long property boom was exacerbated by the global financial crisis, prompting banks, builders and restaurants to cut jobs. Danske Bank A/S eliminated 100 jobs in Ireland this year and said this month it will review its operations in the country.

“Falling domestic demand, fiscal consolidation and banking sector restructuring is taking its toll and will continue to do so,” Dermot O’Leary, chief economist at Dublin-based Goodbody Stockbrokers, said in an e-mailed note. “It will be a long haul back to full employment.”

Unemployment rose 1.3 percent, to 308,500 in the second quarter from a year ago. The number of people in the labor force fell by 1.4 percent to 2.1 million.

To contact the reporter on this story: Colm Heatley in Belfast at cheatley@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dara Doyle at ddoyle1@bloomberg.net

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