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Ireland—Country Workforce Profile

by Jean McCarthy

March 2010—During the 1990’s Ireland was one of the fastest growing open economies in the world. The drivers of 21st century expansion are primarily construction and consumer spending. With 62.5% of the population currently in the workforce, economic growth is expected again after a gradual recovery begins in 2011.

  • The economically active population is projected to increase 12.89% from 2009 to 2020.
  • 20.3% of the population is employed part-time, the highest of other EU27 countries. (The EU27 part-time average is 18.2%, and OECD country average is 15.4%).
  • As of December 2009, the unemployment rate was 12.7%. The male unemployment rate is 15.6%, the female unemployment rate is 9.1%.
  • Employment for persons aged 55-65 was higher in Ireland (54.1%) and the United Kingdom (57.4%) than other European countries. By comparison, France’s employment rate of older workers was 38.3% in 2007.

In terms of older Irish adults, however:

  • Approximately 11% of the Irish population is aged 65 and older.
  • The median age of the population is 35 years, lower than other European countries.
  • Life expectancy in Ireland as of 2009 is 76 years for men and approximately 82 years for women.

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