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Unemployment rates among Irish and non-Irish citizens broadly similar, census shows

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The unemployment rates among Irish and non-Irish citizens were broadly similar at 8 per cent and 9 per cent respectively at the time of last year’s census, according to new statistics released by the Central Statistics Office.

The figures relate to people declaring themselves to be in the labour force, a group that includes those working, unemployed or seeking their first jobs but excludes a range of people including students and those ineligible or unable to work.

At 36 per cent, Ukrainians had by far the highest rate of unemployment of any nationality represented in the figures at the time of the census but it was taken just a matter of weeks after the Russian invasion of the country began and is based on low numbers with only a small number of those fleeing the war having just arrived.

The unemployment rate among those from African countries is 15 per cent while the bulk of nationalities listed come in at about or below that 8-9 per cent range. The lowest unemployment rate recorded is among Germans – 5 per cent – a little below the figures for Spain, Italy and France.

The highest rates of unemployment generally among migrants were found among those who could speak English least well or not at all. The census found that 596,849 people over the age of 15 spoke a language other than English or Irish at home and the rate of joblessness was 9 per cent among this group compared with 21 per cent in 2011.

The variation according to the quality of English spoken was significant with 8 per cent of those who spoke English well without a job compared to 22 per cent of those who could not speak it at all.

In terms of the most recent round of immigration, 77,307 people had moved to Ireland in the year up to April 2022 but a quarter of those were Irish citizens. Seventy-three per cent of those were engaged in the labour force compared with 66 per cent for non-Ireland citizens. The number of students were said to be the key factor in the difference.

Croatians were statistically the most likely of the new arrivals to be working at 89 per cent.

China had the lowest figure of the nations listed, although its numbers would be skewed by the very high number categorised as students and the United States was next up, highlighting the complexity of the issues involved in some of the figures.

Every single county in Ireland experienced a growth in the number of people in work between the 2016 census and the one carried out in April of last year, meanwhile, but the regional variations experienced are substantial.

Longford enjoyed the largest percentage increase with the number of people employed growing from 15,172 to almost 20,000, an increase of about 30 per cent in just six years. The county, though, was still one of three, along with Donegal and Louth, with the highest rates of unemployment at 11 per cent.

Meath and Carlow experienced the next best growth rate at 22 per cent while Kerry fared least well in the list at 10 per cent, just below Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown at 11 per cent.

However, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and Cork County fared best overall in terms of unemployment with both returning a figure of 6 per cent.

In terms of working from home, Dublin experienced the largest growth in those doing it at least some of the time with an increase of 30,000 recorded.

When it came to towns with 1,500 residents or more, Malahide and Portmarnock had the highest percentage of workers based at least one day a week at home, while more than half of people in Greystones, Delgany and Enniskerry, all in Wicklow, as well as Donabate in Fingal also worked at least one day a week from home around the time of the census.

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