Irelands employment rate has exceeded pre pandemic levels with 2,505,800 people in work during the first quarter of the year (2022).

According to a progress report on the 2021 Economic Recovery Plan from the Department of the Taoiseach, Ireland has seen strong economic growth since the plan was launched, despite the recurring impacts of Covid-19 and other geopolitical events.

The plan’s central ambition was to have 2.5 million people in work and placed a focus on jobs in new areas relating to sustainability, that can help Ireland become a decarbonised economy.

Data shows that the employment level at the end of March 2022, is the highest on record, and an increase in female employment was also noted. However, the department highlighted that a number of government supports were still in place at this date.

The department said that the growth is encouraging and while it is hoped that this level of employment will continue, Ireland is facing a number of new challenges including supply chain issues and inflationary pressures, which have been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.

Speaking about the plan’s publication, Taoiseach Micheal Martin welcomed the “significant progress” that has been made in terms of employment and policy outcomes. He said:

“The Economic Recovery Plan is about supporting jobs and livelihoods, but also advancing a renewed and sustainable approach and ensuring a resilient economy able to withstand challenges and uncertainties.”

Outlining why the €4 billion plan was created, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said it was a stimulus “designed to get people back to work and businesses back on their feet while planning for the ling term with investment”.

“With more people at work than ever before in the history of the state, we have bounced back quicker than planned. That is thanks to the incredible resilience and performance of thousands of Irish businesses, their staff, families and communities.

Addressing the war on Ukraine, inflation and the cost of living crisis, Varadkar also said that he understands many are feeling anxious.

“The Government is really conscious of these concerns and will continue to work hard to provide the right environment for economic prosperity and to prepare for the risks ahead,” he concluded.