Industry employs a significantly higher percentage of the workforce in Clare than nationally. That’s according to a labour market analysis by the Western Development Commission (WDC).
Based on data from the 2016 Census of Population, Clare’s total population was 118,817, up 7% from a decade earlier. During the period 2011-2016, total employment in the county grew by 8.6%, compared to the national average of 11%.
In Clare, the number of self-employed people is far higher than the national average, 10.4% compared with 8.3%. Over the past five years, the industrial sector grew by 10.4%, or 723 people, outperforming the national average growth.
In effect, the industry accounts for 15.5% of people at work in the county, compared to a national average of 11.4%.
Unemployment and the labour force
The WDC analysis shows that Clare has a labour force of 56,529 or 60% of the county’s adult population. This includes people at work and those looking for work. The number of persons at work, 49,511, represents 53.1% of the adult population, less than the state average of 53.4%.
Clare has a higher number of retirees than the national average, with 16.1%, making up the largest group of the 40% outside the labour force, nationally the average is 14.5%.
Clare also has a lower than average share of its population unable to work due to disability and illness and a lower share of students and pupils.
Commuting to work is a significant factor for Clare people with almost 10,000, or one-in-five, workers travelling outside the county for work.
Where are the jobs?
So where are the jobs in Clare? The top three sectors of employment are industry, wholesale & retail and health & social work. These account for 36.5% of all jobs.
Employment in wholesale & retail at 11.2% is lower than the national average of 13.3%. A 12.4% growth in the health & social work sector was slightly below the national average.
Tourism growth is reflected in employment in the accommodation and food service sector, which is up 13.5%, the second highest growth sector in the county.
The biggest increase in employment was in the information and communications sector which includes computer programming and consultancy as well as telecommunications. This sector grew by 13.9% in the past five years.
There was also a 10.1% growth in employment in the transport and storage sector, placing Clare well above the national average growth of 4%.
Commenting on the present state of jobs growth in the county, Pauline White, a policy analyst with the WDC said, “Clare seems to be enjoying strong growth in its tourism sector with jobs growth in both the hospitality and transport sectors.
“Developments such as the Wild Atlantic Way and the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre, as well as access through Shannon Airport, are likely to be contributing to the strong performance.”
On the downside, the WDC analysis shows that employment in agriculture has declined significantly by 8.7% in the county, compared to a national drop of 2.6%
Administrative and other services, including leasing activities, business operations processing and personal services, accounts for just over 7% of Clare’s employment, below the national average but the highest in the Western Region
Furthermore, an 8% drop in numbers employed in financial services, has been linked to the closure of banks and other financial institutions.
According to Pauline White in-depth analysis is a key part of the work of the Western Development Commission. She hopes the study will be of use to local authorities, community groups and businesses as they plan for the future.