In the first quarter of 2015, citizen unemployment fell to 2.6 percent from 2.7 percent in the previous quarter and resident unemployment declined to 2.5 percent from 2.7 percent.
Some 3,500 workers were made redundant in the first quarter of 2014, down from 3,910 workers in the preceding quarter. There were 1.7 workers made redundant per 1,000 employees in the first quarter of 2015, as compared to 1.9 in the preceding quarter and 1.6 a year earlier.
The rate of re-entry into employment fell slightly in March 2015, after trending up over the last three quarters. About 57 percent of residents made redundant in the fourth quarter of 2014 secured employment by March 2015, down from 59 percent experienced by the previous cohort (laid off in the third quarter of 2014) in December 2014.
Employment in the first quarter of 2015 declined in manufacturing (-6,900) and construction (-3,600). These losses were partly offset by continued increases in services (4,300), including community, social & personal services (6,500) and administrative & support services (2,000). Within the services sector, employment declines were concentrated in retail trade (-4,800), real estate services (-1,900) and accommodation & food services (-1,800). Overall, total employment contracted by 6,100 in the first quarter of 2015, reflecting seasonal declines and sharper moderation in employment growth in sectors with less favourable business conditions. In March 2015, total employment reached 3,617,800, 2.7 percent higher than a year ago.
The number of job openings held steady from the previous quarter and continued to outnumber job seekers. With fewer job seekers, the seasonally adjusted ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons ticked up to 143 openings per 100 seekers in March 2015, from 142 in December 2014.