The number of people involved in agriculture, forestry and fishing has fallen by 8% (9,000 employees) in the last year. Employment in these primary sectors hit a peak of 113,000 in the first quarter of 2018 but it has dropped off to 104,000 according to latest figures from the Central Statistics Office.

The majority of people employed in the sector are male, accounting for 91,000 employees for the first quarter of 2019. The number of females employed in the sector has seen a sharp decline of 30% since the early 2018 peak, down to 12,000 from 18,000.

Full employment

Elsewhere in the economy, employment has continued to rise, up by 3.7% (81,200). Agriculture, forestry and fishing was the only area of the economy to experience a drop in the number of people employed in the last 12 months.

Total employment in Ireland now stands at 2,316,100 with the unemployment rate dropping to 4.6%.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said: “The figures confirm that the labour market is no longer in a recovery phase and that we are now zeroing in on full employment, as evidenced by the fact that the unemployment rate of 4.6% is the lowest since end-2005.”

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