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Preliminary results of Census 2016 for Co Roscommon

On Thursday 8 December, the WDC made a presentation to a meeting of Roscommon Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) on its analysis of the Preliminary Results of Census 2016 which were published recently in a WDC report and also a summary WDC Insights. The presentation focused on the findings for county Roscommon and can be downloaded here.

Roscommon’s Population

The overall pattern of Roscommon’s population over the longer term was substantial population loss from Famine times until the early 1970s (Fig. 1). There was then a period of marginal growth up to the mid-80s when again there was some population loss.  The period 2002-2011 saw the county experience strong population growth, flattening out in the most recent period.  Between 2011 and 2016 the county’s population only grew by 0.6%, the second lowest growth nationally just above county Leitrim (though it should be noted three counties had population loss). The county’s population now stands at 64,436.

Source: CSO, Preliminary Results Census 2016 http://www.cso.ie/en/census/census2016reports/census2016preliminaryreport/

Fig. 1: Population of county Roscommon, 1841-2016. Source: CSO, Preliminary Results Census 2016 http://www.cso.ie/en/census/census2016reports/census2016preliminaryreport/

Sub-county patterns

Even though the county as a whole had the second lowest population growth nationally there was considerable variation within the county. The county is divided into four districts (Table 1).  One of these, Athlone No. 2 rural area (part of Athlone that is within County Roscommon) showed strong population growth, just below the state average (3.7%).  In contrast the Castlereagh (Castlerea) district in the north west of the county experienced substantial decline of -3.2% with the Boyle district only growing marginally.

There is a clear north/south difference in terms of the county’s population performance, which is linked to employment and economic growth patterns as well as closeness to larger urban centres.  It is striking to note that the areas of county Roscommon with the poorest population performance are those that border Mayo and Sligo, both of which experienced population decline over the period, and Leitrim which had even lower population growth than Roscommon.

Table 1: Population in 2016 and percentage change in population 2011-2016 in four rural districts of County Roscommon

Rural Districts 2016 2011-2016

% change

Athlone No. 2 rural area 16,547 3.5
Boyle No. 1 rural area 10,271 0.3
Castlereagh rural area 15,043 -3.2
Roscommon rural area 22,575 1.3

Source: CSO, Preliminary Results Census 2016 http://www.cso.ie/en/census/census2016reports/census2016preliminaryreport/

Of the 112 Electoral Divisions (EDs) in county Roscommon, just over half (60) showed population decline, while 50 grew and 2 remained unchanged between 2011 and 2016.  Of those that declined, 28 declined by over 5%.  Of those that grew, 19 grew by over 5%.  The top 5 EDs in terms of both population growth and population decline are set out in Table 2.

Table 2: Top 5 EDs in county Roscommon by population increase and by population decrease

Population 2011 (Number) Population 2016 (Number) Actual change 2011-2016 (Number) Percentage change

2011-2016 (%)

TOP 5 EDS BY POPULATION INCREASE
049 Oakport, Co. Roscommon 319 414 95 29.8
041 Kilcolagh, Co. Roscommon 126 148 22 17.5
063 Carrowduff, Co. Roscommon 203 236 33 16.3
078 Bumlin, Co. Roscommon 408 472 64 15.7
112 Tulsk, Co. Roscommon 279 315 36 12.9
TOP 5 EDS BY POPULATION DECREASE
051 Rushfield, Co. Roscommon 425 371 -54 -12.7
070 Fairymount, Co. Roscommon 359 313 -46 -12.8
080 Cloonfinlough, Co. Roscommon 201 173 -28 -13.9
025 Altagowlan, Co. Roscommon 57 49 -8 -14
077 Ballygarden, Co. Roscommon 220 176 -44 -20

Source: CSO, Preliminary Results Census 2016 http://www.cso.ie/en/census/census2016reports/census2016preliminaryreport/

Components of population change

The overall population change in county Roscommon between 2011 and 2016 was +371. This resulted from a natural increase of+1,642 minus estimated net migration of -1,271.  As the loss of population due to migration was very close to the gains from natural growth, the overall change in population was small.

Natural increase of a county is influenced by both its birth and death rates. The average annual birth rate in county Roscommon per 1,000 population between 2011 and 2016 was 12.9. That is, on average 12.9 babies were born each year for every 1,000 population.  This was the fourth lowest birth rate nationally, with only Cork city, Kerry and Donegal lower. The state average was 14.8.

The county’s average annual death rate per 1,000 population was 7.8.  This was the seventh highest nationally and above the state average of 6.3. The combination of a relatively low birth rate and relatively high death rate reduces the contribution of natural increase to population growth. Roscommon had the fourth lowest annual rate of natural increase in the state.

Roscommon performed better in terms of migration however.  Net migration measures the difference between the number moving into the county and the number moving out.  Roscommon’s annual average net migration rate per 1,000 population was -4 (Fig 2).   While this was greater than the state average of -1.2, there were nine other local authority areas with even greater negative migration rates. Within the Western Region, only Galway county and city exceeded Roscommon’s performance.

Fig. 2: Estimated average annual net migration rate by local authority area, 2011-2016. Source: CSO, Preliminary Results Census 2016 http://www.cso.ie/en/census/census2016reports/census2016preliminaryreport/

Fig. 2: Estimated average annual net migration rate by local authority area, 2011-2016. Source: CSO, Preliminary Results Census 2016 http://www.cso.ie/en/census/census2016reports/census2016preliminaryreport/

Conclusion

The Preliminary Results provide initial indications of the demographic trends within county Roscommon during the past five years.  Full details are available in the presentation which can be downloaded here.  This was a period characterised by a general upturn in the national economy, within Roscommon it can be seen that substantial variation exists between the experience of the north and south of the county.

The full Census results, which will be issued next year between April and December, will give a fuller impression of how a highly rural county such as Roscommon has performed in this period and most interestingly the spatial patterns and differences within the county.

Pauline White & Helen McHenry

Self-employment increases by 10,000 in Western Region

The biggest change in the Western Region’s labour market over the past year has been an exceptionally rapid expansion in self-employment.  According to a special run of the CSO’s Quarterly National Household Survey for Quarter 1 2016 for the Western Region, between Quarter 1 2015 and Quarter 1 2016 the number of people in the Western Region who are self-employed grew by 15.4%. That was an increase of 10,000 people, from 65,000 up to 75,000.  This was in sharp contrast to the change in the number of people who were working as employees in the region, which actually declined marginally over the same period -0.2% (from 249,600 down to 249,200).

There has been a steady upward trend in the numbers self-employed in the region since 2012, but 2016 was marked by an exceptionally large rise (Fig. 1). From Fig. 1 it can be seen that the number of self-employed who are employing others actually declined between 2012 and 2014 but has grown strongly since.  Indeed between 2015 and 2016 this type of self-employment increased by a quarter (up 25%).  The strong growth in the number with employees is a very positive indication of the growth potential of some of these businesses. Currently there are 19,000 people self-employed and employing others in the Western Region.

Self-employed with no paid employees is by far the more common type of self-employment however.  This has grown in each year since 2012, except 2015, and increased by 12.4% in the past year to now stand at 56,000. This type of self-employment plays a key role in ensuring that people can continue to live and work in smaller towns and rural areas.

Fig. 1: Number of self-employed persons in the Western Region, with and without paid employees, Q1 2016. Source: CSO, Quarterly National Household Survey, Q1 2016, special run

Fig. 1: Number of self-employed persons in the Western Region, with and without paid employees, Q1 2016. Source: CSO, Quarterly National Household Survey, Q1 2016, special run

The growth in self-employment was the sole driver of any jobs growth that took place in the Western Region in this period.  The total number of people at work in the region rose by 3.5% between Q1 2015 and Q1 2016 and this was entirely due to self-employment.

Contrast to situation in rest of the state

The massive growth in self-employment between 2015 and 2016 was unique to the Western Region.  For the rest of the state (all other counties in Ireland combined) the number of self-employed people actually fell during this period by -1.3%, it was the same for those with and without employees.  The number of people working as employees grew however (up 2.8%) in contrast to the decline experienced in the Western Region.

Total jobs growth in the rest of the state was lower than that in the region (2.2% v 3.5%) over the period and the region’s stronger overall performance was caused by people creating their own jobs. While the region had stronger jobs growth during 2015-2016, over the longer period since 2012 the region has had lower growth.  The total number in employment rose by 6.4% in the Western Region between 2012 and 2016, but by 8.7% in the rest of the state.

High share of all jobs are in self-employment

The Western Region’s labour market differs markedly from that elsewhere.  The recent growth in self-employment in the region has further reinforced its key role.  22.9% of people at work in the Western Region work for themselves, while in the rest of the state it is 15.2% (Fig. 2).

In the rest of the state the share of self-employed has not fluctuated a great deal over the past decade.  There was only a 1.5 percentage point difference between the highest and lowest years.  In the Western Region, volatility has been far greater with a 4.3 percentage point difference between the highest (2016) and lowest (2012) years.  It is notable that the share now in 2016 is even higher than it was in 2007 or 2008 when self-employment in the construction sector would have been at its highest.

Fig. 2: Total self-employment as a percentage of total number in employment in Western Region and rest of state, Q1 2007 – Q1 2016. Source: CSO, Quarterly National Household Survey, Q1 2016, special run

Fig. 2: Total self-employment as a percentage of total number in employment in Western Region and rest of state, Q1 2007 – Q1 2016. Source: CSO, Quarterly National Household Survey, Q1 2016, special run

Reasons for growth

The underlying factors driving strong self-employment growth in the region are varied and complex.  The relative lack of more standard forms of job opportunities, especially in smaller towns and more rural areas can mean that in order to remain living in these areas people need to choose the option of self-employment.  General trends in the world of work such as the growth of the so-called ‘gig economy’, contract working and trends to outsourcing of certain services and activities by larger companies (e.g. transport) is also driving growth in self-employment, though whether such trends would manifest themselves more strongly in the Western Region is unclear.

The other key explanation for the growth in self-employment, while employee numbers fell, was the sectoral pattern of jobs growth during this period.  At a sectoral level the strongest jobs growth by far was in accommodation & food service, perhaps partly influenced by the Wild Atlantic Way tourism initiative as well as increasing domestic demand, followed by transportation & storage and construction (Fig. 3) all of which are sectors that show high levels of self-employment.

Fig. 3: Percentage change in number in employment by sector in Western Region, Q1 2015 - Q1 2016. Source: CSO, Quarterly National Household Survey, Q1 2016, special run

Fig. 3: Percentage change in number in employment by sector in Western Region, Q1 2015 – Q1 2016. Source: CSO, Quarterly National Household Survey, Q1 2016, special run

The 2014 Business Demography data showed that in the Western Region 88.8% of those working in accommodation & food service enterprises were employees with the remainder (11.2%) either owners or relatives.  In the rest of the state only 6.5% were owners/relatives showing greater self-employment in this sector in the region.  For transport the share of owners/relatives was 33.7% in the region compared with 21.5% in the rest of the state while for construction the difference was 43.4% in the region compared with 30.1% elsewhere. The three sectors with the strongest jobs growth in the Western Region between 2015 and 2016 all exhibit a far greater extent of self-employment in the region.

In contrast, industry, the sector which has the highest share of employees (96%) and therefore the lowest share of self-employment (4%), actually had jobs decline in the Western Region between 2015 and 2016.  The predominantly public service sectors of education, health and public administration, which would have low shares of self-employment, also reduced employment over the past year.

Conclusion

Increasingly, jobs growth in the Western Region is driven by self-employment and far more so than in the rest of the state.  This has significant implications for how jobs growth in the region is being, and can be, supported and encouraged.  It shows the importance of supports for the self-employed including issues around social protection, enterprise supports especially soft supports as many may be in locally trading sectors not eligible for grant aid, work space, broadband access and opportunities for networking.  The growth in the number of self-employed with employees is very positive and shows the potential contribution of the self-employed to jobs growth.  It also shows the importance of making it as easy as possible for the self-employed to begin hiring employees as well as the provision of information and advice on employment law and employee rights.

At the same time, these figures raise concerns about the capacity of job creation in other types of businesses, as the number of employees actually declined in the past year in the region while growing elsewhere. This seems to have been due to employment in the predominantly public sectors of education and health (significant employers) falling in the region, while growing in the rest of the state.  Jobs in industry and information & communications also declined.  We will return to the topic of 2016’s sectoral employment performance in a future post, but for now it is important to note that in the Western Region those sectors driven by self-employment are strongly out-performing the others.

Pauline White

Enterprise in Western Counties

Last week the WDC published two new WDC Insights publications.  They were both based on our analysis of the CSO’s Business Demography 2014 data which measures active enterprises in the business economy.[1]  The publications were:

In a previous blog, I outlined our analysis of the data for the Western Region.  In this blog the focus will be on the analysis at county level. It should be noted that in this CSO dataset, enterprises are assigned to the county where they are registered with the Revenue Commissioners. A business with multiple locations (e.g. chain stores, multinationals) is counted once.  Although this limits the data somewhat, and tends to increase the numbers for Dublin, it is a good reflection of local business activity.

Change in enterprise numbers in western counties since 2008

There were a total of 40,797 active enterprises in the Western Region in 2014.  Galway had the highest number at just over 13,000, while there were 1,750 registered in Leitrim (Table 1).  All western counties experienced a decline in enterprise numbers between 2008 and 2014 that was greater than the national average (-2.4%).  At -13.4% Donegal had the second highest decline in Ireland (after Monaghan).

table-1-percentage-change-in-enterpises-in-western-counties-2008-2014

Not surprisingly, the sector which declined most in all counties was Construction.  Wholesale & Retail also declined across all counties and most strongly in Donegal and Clare – possibly influenced by their proximity to other large retail centres.  Accommodation & Food Service declined across most counties, especially Clare.  Combined with a large decline in Transportation & Storage, this may be due to reduced flights into Shannon airport.

In general the knowledge services sectors performed best.  ICT, professional and financial services grew strongly in all counties (with only Clare having a decline in ICT services).  Despite this growth however, these sectors continue to play a relatively small role in the enterprise base of most western counties.

Enterprise base of western counties

Construction and Wholesale & Retail are the largest enterprise sectors in every county (Fig. 1).  In the highly rural counties of Roscommon, Mayo and Donegal 34-36% of enterprises are in the traditional sectors of Industry and Construction, while in the more urban counties of Clare and Sligo it is around 30%.  In Donegal and Leitrim over 40% of enterprises are in the local services of retail, accommodation and transport which rely on domestic spending and tourism.  These activities play a key role in the enterprise base of all counties, though Galway’s more diverse enterprise mix means it is least reliant on them.

fig-1-percentage-of-enterprises-in-western-counties-2014

Galway city and Sligo town are strong regional centres for knowledge service firms and this is clear from the quite high shares of their enterprises in professional, financial and ICT services.  In contrast, these sectors account for only 17% of registered enterprises in Roscommon.

A few examples of particular sectoral enterprise strengths stand out, such as Administration & Support Services in Clare which includes aircraft leasing activities around Shannon and Information & Communications and Financial & Insurance in Galway.  Construction remains hugely important to the enterprise profile of the largely rural counties of Roscommon and Mayo.

Conclusion

There is considerable variation across the seven western counties in terms of their enterprise base.  In general, counties with a higher share of their population living in urban centres (Galway, Clare and Sligo) tend to have a greater share of knowledge services firms and lower reliance on traditional sectors.  The general pattern since 2008 has been one of growth in knowledge services but decline in Construction and local services, a similar pattern to employment trends.  This pattern has a spatial impact as the former tend to concentrate in urban areas while the latter are more important to rural economies.

Pauline White

[1] It excludes Agriculture, Health, Public Administration and Other Services, as well as activities of holding companies.  It includes data on Education but this is not counted in ‘total business economy’ as many of the enterprises are publicly owned and is not analysed here.

Census 2016: Preliminary findings on housing stock and vacancy rates. What has been happening in the Western Region?

A previous blog post Census 2016 Preliminary Results – What does it say about the Western Region? provided some headline figures on population and migration data in 2016 and changes since 2011.

Here I examine two further aspects; housing stock and vacancy rates and examine what is happening at a Western Region and county level.

What is the housing stock in the Western Region?

In April 2016, the Western Region had a housing stock of 404,494, an increase of 0.8% or 3,183 on 2011. Nationally the increase was 0.9% over this period (18,981). These relatively small increases are not surprising following the economic crash and the very limited house building that has taken place since then.

Within the Western Region there was an actual decline in housing stock in three of the counties, (see Table 1 below), Roscommon, -0.5% (-173), Sligo -0.2% (-51) and Leitrim -0.2% (-36), indicating some houses have been removed from the housing stock, though the data does not tell us whether these are ‘ghost estates’ or not.   Though these are marginal changes, there are also negative declines in just a few other places, Dublin and Limerick cities and Longford. In contrast, within the Region, only Galway city records a significant increase in housing stock – 3.5% – the highest recorded increase across the State.

housing-wr-5

Source: CSO, Census of Population 2011, Census of Population 2016, Preliminary Results.

As the change in housing stock is so closely related to the most recent period of economic growth and decline, it is interesting to look at the figures over the 10 year period, 2006-2016. This period marks the time immediately before the peak of economic growth and growth in housing supply and the economic crash following this, culminating in the current period, marked by a return to economic growth.

Between 2006 and 2016, there was an increase in housing stock of 16.4% in the Western Region and this compares to 14.3% nationally. Within the Region, some counties had a very significant increase in housing stock, Donegal (20.2%), Leitrim (19.1%) and Roscommon (16.9%), highlighting the particularly strong growth rates in the West.

The evident contrast between the growth in supply in the earlier period and the limited growth and contraction in the latter period highlights the difference in housing activity over the periods.

It is worth noting that even with the limited growth in housing stock in the latter period, the growth in the Western Region between 2006 and 2016 of 16.4% is still nearly than double the population growth in the Region over the same period – 8.6%.

Looking at the period 2011-2016, the percentage change in both population and households by county is presented in Figure 7 below. While Donegal lost population (-1.5%) it still experienced a small increase in the number of households (0.8%).

fig-7-change-in-pop-households-chart

What are the vacancy rates in the region?

The vacancy rate measures the share of the housing stock in each county that is recorded as a vacant dwelling by the Census enumerators.  The average vacancy rate in the Western Region in 2016 was 21.7%, marginally lower than in 2006 (22.8%).

 Fig. 2: Vacancy rates in western counties, Western Region and State, 2011 and 2016

vacancy-rates-11-16-wrSource: CSO, Census of Population 2011, Census of Population 2016, Preliminary Results.

In total Leitrim (29.5%), Donegal (28.2%) and Mayo (24.0%) had the highest vacancy rates in the region, while Galway city (10.5%) had the lowest.   All counties in the Western Region experienced a slight decrease in their vacancy rates between 2011 and 2016.

 Nationally, the average vacancy rate in 2016 was 19.9%, a decrease on the 2011 rate of 22.8%. At a national level, Leitrim and Donegal have the highest vacancy rates in the country and this was also the case in 2011. Figure 8 below shows the vacancy rate by county in 2016.

fig-8-vacant-dwellings

These data, though preliminary highlight a couple of important themes.

The first is that it is very clear that there are huge differences in housing stock and vacancy rates across the country.

There are also differences within Regions, for example though most counties in the Western Region report negative or less than 1 % growth in housing stock, Galway city on the other hand had the highest growth in housing stock across the country.

This analysis also highlights the value of a five yearly census. As Table 1 illustrates the difference evident in the last 5 years, compared to the previous 5 years is particularly evident in examining the changes to the hosing stock.

Deirdre Frost

Jobs Growth Continues but Slowing in BMW regions

The latest CSO Quarterly National Household Survey was released yesterday. This data refers to the period Quarter 2 (April-June) 2016.

The overall picture is quite positive with the number of people at work increasing by 2.9% in the past year (Q2 2015–Q2 2016).  This is almost identical to employment growth in the previous year, 3% between Q2 2014 and Q2 2015.  There seems to be a steady continuation of jobs growth nationally.

Regional patterns of employment growth

As with all national data, if you drill down to regional level you find some interesting differences.  Fig. 1 shows employment growth in each of the eight NUTS3 Irish regions over the past two years. In the most recent year (Q2 2015-Q2 2016) regional employment growth ranged from 4.3% in Dublin to just 0.5% in the Midland region.  While Dublin, the Mid-East, South East and Mid-West all had higher growth than the national average, employment in the Midland, South-West and West regions increased by under 1%.

Fig. 1: Percentage change in number of people in employment by NUTS3 region, Q2 2014–Q2 2015 and Q2 2015–Q2 2016. Source: CSO, Quarterly National Household Survey, Q2 2016

Fig. 1: Percentage change in number of people in employment by NUTS3 region, Q2 2014-Q2 2015 and Q2 2015-Q2 2016. Source: CSO, Quarterly National Household Survey, Q2 2016

Compared with a year previously (Q2 2014-Q2 2015), Dublin, the Mid-East and Mid-West experienced higher growth; in all other regions it was lower. The Greater Dublin Area (Dublin and Mid-East) in particular experienced far greater jobs growth from 2015 to 2016 than it had the previous year.  The Border and South-West meanwhile had very substantially lower growth.

When examining statistics at a smaller scale of course, they are more prone to fluctuation across years e.g. a major factory closure or opening in a year can strongly influence growth/decline in a region. However, there does seem to be a general pattern of some slow-down in jobs growth in the Border, Midland and West (BMW) region, as well as the South-West, over the past year.

Regional unemployment rates

In Q2 2016, unemployment rates ranged from 10.8% in the South East to 6.9% in the neighbouring Mid-East (Fig. 2). The three BMW regions also had unemployment rates above the national average.

Fig. 2: ILO unemployment rate in NUTS3 regions, Q2 2016 (not seasonally adjusted). Source: CSO, Quarterly National Household Survey, Q2 2016

Fig. 2: ILO unemployment rate in NUTS3 regions, Q2 2016 (not seasonally adjusted). Source: CSO, Quarterly National Household Survey, Q2 2016

Tracking unemployment rates since 2007 (Fig. 3) it is clear that the South East and Midland regions have consistently shown the highest unemployment rates, though they are following the general pattern of decline since 2012.  The Mid-east, Mid-West and South West showed the steepest declines in their unemployment rates over the past year.  The first two also had strong employment growth (see Fig. 1 above).

Fig. 3: ILO unemployment rates in NUTS3 regions, Q2 2007 – Q2 2016 (not seasonally adjusted). Source: CSO, Quarterly National Household Survey, Q2 2016

Fig. 3: ILO unemployment rates in NUTS3 regions, Q2 2007 – Q2 2016 (not seasonally adjusted). Source: CSO, Quarterly National Household Survey, Q2 2016

Decline in numbers in unemployment

The Border and Dublin regions showed practically no change in their unemployment rates between 2015 and 2016 (see Fig. 3 above). The reason for this is clear from Fig. 4. Dublin was the only region that actually experienced an increase in the number of people unemployed.  The very strong growth in Dublin’s labour force over the past year (4.4%) led to both strong growth in the numbers at work and also increased unemployment.

The Border had the smallest decline in the number of unemployed.  This compares with a very substantial fall the previous year. These two regions, plus the West, were the only ones with a smaller improvement in unemployment in this period than the previous.

There were large unemployment declines in the South West, Mid-West and Mid-East reflected in their sharply declining unemployment rates (see Fig. 3 above).  Apart from the first, these regions also showed strong employment increases (see Fig. 1 above) indicating that a significant cause of the fall in unemployment was likely movement into employment.  In the case of the South West however, it had relatively low employment growth ( see Fig. 1 above). This region had the largest fall in the size of its labour force in this period (-1.9%), so an important factor in its unemployment decline was likely unemployed people leaving the labour force (e.g. moving out of the region, retiring, returning to education).

Fig. 4: Percentage change in number of people unemployed by NUTS3 region, Q2 2014–Q2 2015 and Q2 2015–Q2 2016. Source: CSO, Quarterly National Household Survey, Q2 2016

Fig. 4: Percentage change in number of people unemployed by NUTS3 region, Q2 2014–Q2 2015 and Q2 2015–Q2 2016. Source: CSO, Quarterly National Household Survey, Q2 2016

Conclusion

The latest QNHS figures show a continuing positive labour market trend nationally and regionally. There are indications however of some slowing down of employment growth in the BMW regions as well as relatively lower falls in unemployment compared with some other areas of the country.   This is reflected in persistently higher unemployment rates in the Midland, Border and West regions, as well as the South East. The Greater Dublin Area (Dublin and Mid-East) has shown particularly strong jobs growth in the past year, though Dublin’s expanding labour force has meant that this jobs growth has not led to declining unemployment.

The regional data shows that Ireland has a complex labour market with many factors influencing regions’ performance.  When the full Census 2016 results are published next year, it will be possible to drill down to a far smaller spatial scale to examine labour market patterns within these NUTS3 regions and the different experiences of rural areas, small towns and villages, large urban centres and the cities.

Pauline White

No. of Enterprises in Western Region declines 8.6% since 2008

The CSO recently released their Business Demography data for 2014 which, combined with the Preliminary Results of Census 2016, shows the continuation of clear economic as well as demographic spatial patterns.

The Business Demography data measures active enterprises in the business economy[1] and provides data at county level.  An enterprise is assigned to the county where it is registered with the Revenue, so for a business that has multiple locations (e.g. chain stores, banks, multinationals) the business is only counted in the county where it is registered (often Dublin).  This makes the data somewhat limited, however it does give a true reflection of enterprises that are registered and operating in a county.

Greater decline in enterprise numbers in Western Region since 2008

In 2014 there were 40,797 active enterprises registered in the seven county Western Region.  This was 8.6% below the 44,621 in 2008.  In contrast, in the rest of the state (all counties other than the seven counties of the Western Region) the number in 2014 was just 1% below the 2008 figure.  And there were even greater differences when we consider sectors.  Fig. 1 shows that with the sole exception of Real Estate, the Western Region had a weaker performance – greater decline or lower growth – than the rest of the state in every sector between 2008 and 2014.

Fig. 1: Percentage change in active enterprises, Western Region and Rest of State, 2008-2014. Source: CSO, Business Demography 2014 http://bit.ly/2ac2fw7

Fig. 1: Percentage change in active enterprises, Western Region and Rest of State, 2008-2014. Source: CSO, Business Demography 2014 http://bit.ly/2ac2fw7

Weaker performance for Western Region across almost all sectors

Unsurprisingly Construction experienced the greatest decline in the number of enterprises, while the locally traded services sectors of Transportation & Storage, Wholesale & Retail also declined in both the region and rest of the state.  For three sectors (Financial & Insurance, Accommodation & Food Service, and Industry) there was a fall in the region, but growth elsewhere.  The Financial & Insurance sector shows a very stark difference, while there was also a substantial difference for Industry.

In the sectors where the Western Region experienced growth, we can see there was a considerable gap with the rest of the state the knowledge services sectors of Information & Communications and Professional services.

Higher share of enterprises in traditional sectors and local services

The difference in the experience over the period contributed to the current enterprise profile of the the Western Region and rest of the state. Fig. 2 shows that, similar to employment patterns, the traditional sectors (Construction and Industry) and local services (Wholesale & Retail and Accommodation & Food Service) account for larger shares of all enterprises in the region, with a lower share of enterprises in knowledge services sectors.

Fig. 2: Percentage of active enterprises by sector, Western Region and rest of state, 2014. Source: CSO, Business Demography 2014 http://bit.ly/2ac2fw7

Fig. 2: Percentage of active enterprises by sector, Western Region and rest of state, 2014. Source: CSO, Business Demography 2014 http://bit.ly/2ac2fw7

Varying performance for western counties

From Fig. 3 it is clear that there were massive differences in the experience of counties over the period, ranging from a 14.2% decline in the number of enterprises in Monaghan to a 7.1% increase in Dublin, the only county with more registered enterprises in 2014 than in 2008.  This is of course influenced by the practice of registering business headquarters in Dublin even if they have locations in other counties.  Evan allowing for this, there is a clear spatial pattern with Border and Midland counties experiencing particularly large declines.

Among the western counties, two of the large rural counties (Donegal and Mayo) experienced the greatest declines in enterprise numbers.  Roscommon, Clare, Galway and Leitrim meanwhile had quite similar experiences, declining by around 7%.  Sligo performed best with a fall of just over 4% in its number of enterprises.  The enterprise profile of each county and the performance of enterprises in different sectors is a key explanation for these county differences and we’ll examine county patterns in more detail in a future post.

Fig. 3: Percentage change in active enterprises by county, 2008-2014. Source: CSO, Business Demography 2014 http://bit.ly/2ac2fw7

Fig. 3: Percentage change in active enterprises by county, 2008-2014. Western counties in green. Source: CSO, Business Demography 2014 http://bit.ly/2ac2fw7

In addition to the data on enterprise numbers, the Business Demography data also provides information on employment in these enterprises, which we’ll also examine in more detail in future. But this initial overview of the data clearly shows a significant decline in the number of enterprises based in the Western Region which is reflected in a weaker performance across all sectors of the business economy.

Pauline White

 

[1] It does not include Agriculture, Health, Public Administration or Other Services. While it does include data on Education, that sector is not counted in the total figures as many of the enterprises in the sector are publicly owned.

Census 2016 Preliminary Results – What does it say about the Western Region?

The headline figures from the preliminary Census 2016 figures show a population that is growing, nationally by 3.7% over the last 5 years. However it is not evenly spread and it is clear that much of the growth is on the East coast and in urban centres.

Nationally the population is now 4.75 million, an increase of 3.7% on the 2011 figure of 4.58 million. The Western Region’s population grew at a much slower rate, by just 0.9% over the period, to 828,124 – amounting to 7,244 more persons than in 2011.

Where is this growth occurring?

The Map below highlights the spatial distribution of population growth.


popchange

While most counties experienced some level of population growth just three counties, all in the Western Region, witnessed population decline over the five years, namely Donegal (-1.5%), Mayo (-0.2%) and Sligo (-0.1%).

From a Western Region perspective, the other four counties of the Western Region all recorded population increases over the period; Clare (+1.2%), Leitrim (+0.5%), Roscommon (+0.6%), Galway county (+2.2%), Galway city (5.3%).

It is clear from the map that the particularly high growth rates, in excess of 4% are all, apart from Cork and Longford, occurring on the East coast.

Aspects of Population Change

Net migration and natural increases are the two components of population change.

Migration

Migration, especially in an Irish context can vary a lot and is heavily influenced by the rate of economic growth. Nationally net migration over the past 5 years is estimated at -28,558. This compares with net inward migration of 115,800 over the previous five years from 2006-2011.

The migration figures include international migration as well as migration within Ireland. It is clear that a key driver for migratory flows is employment opportunity. As the map below illustrates, most counties – coloured red and orange, experienced net outward migration. Dublin and Cork city along with Kilkenny, Laois and Longford experienced net inward migration. It is most significant in parts of Dublin. All other counties experienced net outward migration and this is particularly stark on the West coast, in Donegal (-6,731), Mayo (-3,246), Galway (-3,168) and Limerick.

Net migration by county 11-16

Natural Increase

The natural increase (births minus deaths) is the other component of population growth or decline. While natural increases are evident across the country, it ranges from an annual average rate of 3.3 per 1,000 in Cork city to a rate of 15 per 1,000 in Fingal. This range is evident in the chart below.

From a Western Region perspective, all counties except Galway city have an annual average rate less than the state average which is 8.5 (on the chart between Offaly and Westmeath).

natural increase by county

So what are the policy implications?

There are many implications across a whole range of policy areas. The greater detail which will be available from the detailed Census outputs later in the year will help inform specific policy areas.

It is clear that, so far, the preliminary results from Census 2016 highlight the need for a new spatial plan which can help direct where population and economic growth should occur. Economic and population growth need to be supported to ensure optimum growth across all regions.

Deirdre Frost

E-Work and New ‘Work’

In a previous blog post, E-Working – what are the trends? I examined the data available on e-work, also termed tele-working. Much of the data, especially the trend data available from the Census, only measures those workers who work ‘mainly at or from home’ and as discussed this only captures a small element of the workforce which we know, frequently work from home.

Capturing the extent to which people e-work is related to how the question is phrased; so for example if the Census question was changed, to ask whether a person worked on one or even a ½ day per week basis, it is likely to significantly increase the number reporting that they are e-workers.

Rural E-working

A recent report commissioned by Vodafone and conducted by Amárach Research, Connected Futures (3.8MB) examined the extent to which broadband has influenced those working in rural Ireland. The research found that nearly one in four broadband users in rural Ireland uses the internet at home in relation to their work (about 430,000 people). Among those remotely accessing work from home, most use the internet to check email and organise their work diary. Nearly half use the internet at home to work on reports and presentations. These e-workers report that with internet access, they can avoid commuting to work, which the research indicates typically occurs about two days a week.

Entirely Home-based E-work

The use of communications technology and more importantly its widespread availability at home has allowed new forms of work to emerge.

An early use of home-based working which is conditional on the availability of a minimum level of broadband speed has been the outsourcing of work where the employee is entirely home-based. For example Amazon and Apple were reported as requiring applicants to have a minimum 5Mbps download speed for home based customer support jobs. This and the need for universal high speed broadband is discussed in the WDC Report, Connecting the West, Next Generation Broadband in the Western Region (Low Res 1.5Mb).

Enforced Flexibility

A new report, published last week by TASC, Enforced Flexibility? Working in Ireland Today, (609kb) discusses an emerging practice where employees work entirely from home, though not by employee choice. For at least one of the high tech multinationals an emerging practice is to place some of their customer service workers in their own homes.  While traditionally the choice to work from home was perceived as a positive option, in this case the decision was made by the organisation rather than the individual: it was not an option as there was no possibility of working in an office. (p.62).

E-working has generally been considered in a positive light from the employee perspective, enabling more flexibility in working hours which can be more family friendly, reduced commuting time as well as fuel and carbon savings. However the TASC report notes that e-working which is wholly and entirely conducted from home, without the option of working in an office may not offer the same degree of flexibility. Constantly online during their shifts they were subject to the same tight supervision as those based in a traditional call centre environment. While it is difficult to establish what proportion of customer service workers now work in this way, there is evidence that the numbers are growing (p.62). In some instances these employees are self-employed contractors even though they are entirely contracted to the one employer.

The ‘Gig economy’

Measuring the extent of e-work is further complicated by the changing nature of work. The evolution of communications technology which has enabled the increased possibility of e-work, has evolved even further to allow new forms of ‘work’ to emerge.

Broadband and online platforms have allowed the development of new types of work and service delivery variously termed the ‘gig economy’, ‘sharing economy’, ‘crowd working’ and ‘uberisation’. Previously ‘gigs’ were how musicians earned a living, now the ‘gig economy’ includes all those who rent out their property, possessions or services for a fee, all of which is managed online!

The ‘gig economy’ is another form of e-work as it relies on electronic communication, though with the increasing use and availability of smartphones and mobile broadband this type of e-work is often less tied to a fixed location, whether this is at home or elsewhere. The ‘gig economy’ can also be seen as entrepreneurial, allowing individuals to initiate a process of selling goods or services and increasing the potential for self-employment.

Much of this type of work and service delivery is likely to be more developed in large urban centres, with significant critical mass. So far, within Ireland, Uber is just in Dublin and Cork – though the IDA announced a significant jobs announcement by Uber  in Limerick earlier this year.

However while parts of the ‘gig economy’ are urban driven, it is by no means exclusive to it. Airbnb can operate anywhere and maybe very popular in more rural areas with more limited supply, especially in high season.

As a type of employment, the ‘gig economy’ has raised questions about workers’ rights and protections such as guaranteed income, health care and pensions. Hillary Clinton, US Presidential candidate, when outlining her economic plan noted, This on-demand, or so called gig economy is creating exciting economies and unleashing innovation. But it is also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future.

Evidence of the ‘Gig Economy’

To what extent the ‘gig economy’ is changing the nature of work is not clear. Some argue that while more are choosing to earn income from this ‘gig economy’, it is not clear whether this is in the absence of another job or to supplement existing paid employment?

Research undertaken by the University of Hertfordshire has tried to quantify the extent of the ‘gig economy’ in both the UK and Sweden.

The research found that in the UK around 5 million people are engaged in the ‘gig economy’. In the UK online survey 21% say they have tried to find work managed via so called ‘sharing economy’ platforms such as Upwork, Uber or Handy during the past year, equivalent to around 9 million people or almost one fifth of the adult population. Around 1 in 10 (11%) of respondents said they had succeeded in doing so, equivalent to around 4.9 million people.

Almost a quarter (24%) of UK women responding to the survey claim to have sought work via online platforms, and one third (33%) of 25-34 year olds.

3% of respondents claim to find paid work via online platforms at least once a week, equivalent to around 1.3 million adults, with 4%, or around 1.8 million finding work at least once a month.

Main source of income or a supplement?

A quarter of all those workers in the ‘gig economy’ say they rely on this income as their sole or main source of income.

Only 10% of those workers in the ‘gig economy’ were students, a proportion that dropped to 6% among those working in the ‘gig economy’ weekly. This is in line with the general proportion of students in the adult population of the UK (at around 8%).

The range of work is extremely broad, from high-skill professional work at one extreme to running errands at the other. The most common type of work, undertaken by more than two thirds is office work, short tasks and ‘click work’ done online. However a significant proportion are doing professional work, creative work, providing taxi services or a range of other services in people’s homes.

Where is the ‘Gig economy’?

From a geographic perspective, the largest numbers are in England with one in five based in London, just under a quarter each in the South, the Midlands and the North with 7% in Scotland and 3% in Wales. This reflects the general distribution of the UK population.

The Swedish online survey found a similar pattern to the UK survey. In Sweden 12% are working in the so-called ‘sharing economy’ for platforms such as Upwork, Uber or Skjutsgruppen, equivalent to around 737,000 people. Twice as many people (24%) used such sites in the hope of finding work – equivalent to almost a quarter of the working age population.

Conclusions

E-work can describe a variety of employment types ranging from ‘traditional work’ conducted at home or on the move, through to occasional engagement in online activity to generate additional income.

This can include a traditional employment relationship between an employee and an employer with the employee working from home possibly one or two days per week. It can also include the ‘new’ types of work and service delivery associated with the gig economy’, where people are often self-employed.

E-working of all types and the more recent growth in online platforms which has enabled new forms of income generation are all dependent on the widespread availability of broadband. The research to-date indicates that this type of employment and income generation is a very significant and growing element of the economy and labour market. The evidence cited from rural areas suggest that online participation for work is as prevalent, if not more so than in urban areas. This reinforces the need for the universal availability of quality broadband, another reason for the speedy rollout of the Government’s National Broadband Plan.

Deirdre Frost

Impact of Sectors on Western Region’s Jobs Recovery

Our last blog post examined the role that sectors play in regional GVA. Sectors also have a huge impact on the pattern of jobs growth.  Following on from our April WDC Insights publication ‘Jobs Recovery in the Western Region’, the WDC has just published new analysis examining the role that sectors have played in recent jobs trends.

‘Impact of Sectors on Western Region’s Jobs Recovery’ examines some of the causes for the region’s slower jobs recovery.

Lower jobs diversity

There is greater concentration of employment in a few sectors in the Western Region.  62.2% of jobs in the region are in its top five sectors (Industry, Health, Wholesale & Retail, Agriculture and Education) compared with 53.6% in the rest of the state.  Greater diversity in employment across sectors is an important aspect of regional resilience and growth.

Traditional and public sectors more important; services less so

The region has higher shares working in the traditional sectors (Agriculture, Construction, Industry) and also Public Services (Health, Education, Public Admin) than in the rest of the state (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Percentage of employment by broad sector, Western Region and Rest of State, Q1 2015

Fig. 1: Percentage of employment by broad sector, Western Region and Rest of State, Q1 2015

At the same time, there are lower shares employed in Locally Traded (Retail, Accommodation, Transport) and Knowledge (ICT, Finance, Professional) Services.  For Locally Traded Services, as these rely on domestic demand, lower incomes in the region  compared with much of the rest of the state may be a factor in this.  It also helps to explain the region’s higher youth unemployment as these are areas (shops, bars) where young people often find work.

The high-value Knowledge Services sectors is where the region lags the rest of the state most significantly.  These are seen as key sectors for growth and their poor performance is a cause for concern.

Strength in manufacturing

Manufacturing plays a more important role in the region’s employment, accounting for 15.6% of jobs compared with 12.2% in the rest of the state.  Between 2012 and 2015 growth in manufacturing jobs in the Western Region was more than twice that as in rest of state – 8.3% v 3.4% (Fig. 2).  The region’s manufacturing strength has been a key factor in the West’s relatively strong recovery in GVA.  Manufacturing is a key regional strength.

Decline in market services sectors

Between 2012 and 2015 there was jobs decline in the three market services sectors (Administration and Other, Locally Traded and Knowledge) in the Western Region, while they grew elsewhere in the state (Fig. 2).  This is the main reason for the Western Region’s slower jobs recovery.

Fig. 2: Percentage change in employment by broad sector, Western Region and Rest of State, Q1 2012 – Q1 2015

Fig. 2: Percentage change in employment by broad sector, Western Region and Rest of State, Q1 2012 – Q1 2015

Similar to the rest of the state, Agriculture and Construction saw the largest increases in job numbers in the Western Region, driven by strong agri-food exports and a resurgence in building activity.

Conclusion

This WDC Insights shows that slower jobs recovery in the Western Region is mainly due to contraction in market services sectors, in contrast with growth elsewhere.  In every year since 2011, the numbers working in the Western Region in both Knowledge Services and in Administration and Other Services has declined. This was during a time of recovery nationally.

While the region’s strong manufacturing base and Public Services employment have compensated to some extent, it has not been enough to allow the region to enjoy a similar rate of jobs recovery as elsewhere.  Optimising growth across all sectors, and addressing challenges in the market services sectors in particular, will be required for a healthier and more resilient regional labour market.

Pauline White

 

Source: All data taken from a special run of the CSO’s Quarterly National Household Survey, Quarter 1 2012-2015 for the seven county Western Region.

Strong jobs growth in manufacturing but decline in market services in Western Region

Between 2012 and 2015 employment in market services sectors declined in the Western Region, but grew in the rest of the country.  This is the main reason for slower jobs recovery in the Western Region, where employment grew by 2.8% compared with 6.3% in the rest of the state during that period.  That’s according to a new Western Development Commission (WDC) publication Impact of Sectors on Western Region’s Jobs Recovery’.

Market services are businesses which supply services to consumers or other businesses.  During 2012-2015, jobs in Administration and Other Services (-11.4%), Locally Traded Services (retail, hospitality, transport) (-7.5%) and Knowledge Services (finance, ICT, professional services) (-7.3%) all declined in the Western Region.  This was during a period of recovery in these sectors nationally.

‘Many of these businesses rely on consumer spending.  Lower incomes in the region than in much of the rest of the state is one of the challenges they face.  The decline in Locally Traded Services has also contributed to the region’s higher youth unemployment rate of 30.8% compared with 20% in the rest of the state.  These are areas where young people often find work,’ according to Paddy McGuinness, Chairperson of the WDC.

‘Job declines in high-value, knowledge services such as ICT, which are seen as key to future growth, is a particular concern.  Improving the region’s capacity to attract and grow knowledge services activities must be central to jobs and enterprise strategies,’ he added.

On a positive note, the region’s manufacturing sector is performing strongly.  Employing 50,000 people, Industry is the single largest employer in the Western Region.  It is also more important to regional employment, accounting for 15.6% of all jobs compared with 12.2% in the rest of the state.  Over the three years 2012-2015 industrial employment in the Western Region grew by 8.3%, more than twice the growth in the rest of the state (3.4%).

‘Our manufacturing base is a core strength for the Western Region.  It is critical that we build on this strength and maintain our competitiveness as a location for globally trading Irish and foreign-owned companies, offering a highly skilled workforce, top class infrastructure and responsive higher education institutions,’ concluded Mr. McGuinness.

Similar to the rest of the state, Agriculture (+32%) and Construction (+18.2%) saw the largest increases in job numbers, driven by strong agri-food exports and a resurgence in building activity.

Download the two-page WDC Insights publication ‘Impact of Sectors on Western Region’s Jobs Recovery’ here

 

Notes to Editor:

All data taken from a special run of the CSO’s Quarterly National Household Survey, Quarter 1 2012-2015 for the seven county Western Region.

The Western Development Commission (WDC) (wdc.ie) is the statutory body promoting economic and social development in the Western Region (counties Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Mayo, Galway and Clare). Its strategic goals are:

  • To inform policy-making on economic and social development in the Western Region through high quality analysis.
  • To promote the benefits of living, working and doing business in the Western Region.
  • To encourage the development of the rural economy based on the sustainable development of the Western Region’s strengths and resources.
  • To provide risk capital to micro, small and medium sized and social enterprises in their start-up and expansion phases through the WDC Investment Fund (WIF).

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