Irish payrolls grew in the fourth quarter for the first time in more than four years as employers hired more part-time staff and emigration reduced the number of unemployed.
The number of people in work rose 0.1 percent from the year-earlier period to 1.849 million, the first increase since the second quarter of 2008, the Central Statistics Office said in Dublin today. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 14.1 percent in February after the January rate was revised down.
“The economy seems to be generating a little more activity and that’s now proving sufficient to stabilize numbers at work,” said Austin Hughes, chief economist at KBC Bank Ireland Plc in Dublin. “It’s no dramatic turnaround in the economy. It’s still quite a struggle and we’re going to see fairly limited growth this year.”
Ireland’s unemployment rate has tripled since 2007 as a crash in the country’s property market led to the loss of more than 170,000 construction jobs. Increased hiring in Ireland by U.S. companies such as Google Inc. and EBay Inc. is helping to ease jobless queues as government austerity measures continue to constrain the domestic economy.
Gross domestic product rose 0.2 percent in the third quarter after a 0.4 percent gain in the previous three months. The government forecasts growth of 1.5 percent this year.
EBay said on Feb. 14 that it plans to create 450 jobs in Ireland on top of about 1,000 announced last year by its payments unit, PayPal Inc. Facebook Inc. said this month it plans to hire 100 people in Ireland this year.
A 3.2 percent increase in part-time employment in the fourth quarter offset a 0.9 percent decline in full-time jobs, today’s report showed. The seasonally adjusted fourth-quarter jobless rate fell to 14.2 percent from 14.6 percent.
Net emigration is helping to cushion unemployment numbers, according to the CSO. The number of people in the labor force fell by 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter.