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Enterprise;Trade and Employment | Manufacturing and services sectors employment

To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise; Trade and Employment the extent to which diversification throughout the manufacturing and services sectors has resulted in increased employment; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


When we launched the Economic Recovery Plan in June 2021, we set a goal of achieving 2.5 million people in employment by 2024. The Plan not only aimed to recover employment lost during the pandemic but to promote new employment opportunities through increased labour market activation and by accelerating the provision of training, reskilling and upskilling opportunities.

According to the latest available national employment figures, from the Central Statistics Office’s Labour Force Survey, employment levels reached 2.55 million in Q3 2022. We now have more people employed in our country than ever before, while the quarterly unemployment rate stands at 4.5% – levels not seen since 2005. The rate of employment growth since the beginning of the pandemic has been remarkable. Since Q1 2020, the number of people in employment has grown by 207,100 (8.8%).

This additional employment has been spread across several sectors, including information and communication, industry, education, human health and social work activities, and professional, scientific and technical activities.

These recent labour market dynamics reflect longer-term trends, with Ireland’s labour market experiencing significant sectoral reallocation over the past decade. This diversification of our enterprise base is a result of concerted government action in recent years. In 2019 Future Jobs Ireland set the ambition of diversifying our enterprise to ensure that the Irish economy is more resilient and adaptable. Key deliverables of the plan included strengthening the capacity of Local Enterprise Offices, to provide a comprehensive suite of supports for indigenous Irish Businesses and increasing the take-up of supports among SMEs to improve competitiveness and enhance innovation.

Since the plan was launched in March 2019, there is evidence of a continuing structural change in agency-assisted companies towards Services sectors, particularly in the foreign-owned sector. According to the Annual Employment Survey 2021, full-time employment in all Industrial sector companies increased to 240,737 in 2021, up from 229,303 in 2020 (a rise of 11,434 or 5.0%), while Services employment increased to 211,208 in 2021, up from 193,733 in 2020 (a rise of 17,475 or 9.0%). In the Industrial sector, Irish-owned companies accounted for 52.0% of full-time employment in 2021, while in the Services sector, this share was 29.5%.

The newly published White Paper on Enterprise, 2022-2030, reaffirms Government commitments to strengthening the Irish-owned enterprise base while continuing to advance Ireland’s Foreign Direct Investment and trade value proposition. Amongst the targets included in the White Paper are a 50% increase in the number of large Irish exporting companies by 2030; 2,000 additional Irish-owned exporters by 2030; and over two-thirds of Enterprise Ireland assisted new jobs between 2022 and 2024 to be created outside of Dublin.

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