Press Release

SIPTU says employment growth indicates recovering economy but wages remain flat

Date Released: 28 February 2014

The strong growth in the numbers in employment, with the seasonally adjusted figure of 59,900 more people in work over the year to the end of 2013, is a sign of economic recovery but concerns remain about stagnant wages, according to SIPTU Economist Marie Sherlock.

Commenting on the publication today (Thursday, 27th February) of the Central Statistics Office (CSO) quarterly national household survey, Marie Sherlock, said the significant increase in full time employment and the large number of additional jobs going to Irish nationals were two very positive features in the data.

She said: “The bulk of the employment growth went to males. Over the four quarters of 2013 male employment grew by just over 5% whereas female employment has been growing much more slowly at a rate of just 1.2%.

“However, the number of hours available in particular sectors and the corresponding rates of pay will have to be watched closely over coming months. The latest figures show a strong increase in the numbers working over 40 hours but in general there has been a shift towards lower average hours over the past decade and a half and towards greater numbers in part time employment.  Hours worked per week across all sectors now average 35.5 hours and this is 2.3 hours less than in the same period 15 years ago. This gives rise to serious implications for household income and worker’s ability to earn a decent living.”

Marie Sherlock added: “The CSO’s Earnings and Labour Costs figures released yesterday (Wednesday, 26th February) showed that during 2013, private sector weekly wages remained flat as average hours remain unchanged and there was a negligible €0.03 increase in earnings per hour. More worryingly, there appears to have been a relatively strong pick up in weekly earnings for managers, professionals and associated professionals over the 12 months to the third quarter of 2013 of 3.4% across all sectors, while craft and production workers saw a drop of 10% in weekly earnings during the same period.”


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