Published: 12 April 2018
The construction sector has regained fewer than a third of the jobs lost during the financial and construction crisis that engulfed the country between 2007 and 2012.
As at the end of the second quarter of 2017, the number of people at work in the sector was 110,000 - or 46pc lower than in 2007.
That's according to a new report, 'Where are Ireland's Construction Workers', by Central Bank economists Thomas Conefrey and Tara McIndoe-Calder.
The report, which includes data from the Central Statistics Office, found that half of the workers who lost their jobs in Ireland between 2007 and 2012 had previously been employed in construction.
"As house prices collapsed and the number of housing units being constructed declined drastically, employment in the construction sector fell by 65pc from 236,800 in 2007 to 83,400 in 2012," the report found.
While there has been a strong recovery in employment in other sectors of the economy, with the country on track to achieve full employment this year, the numbers in construction employment at the end of the first three months of 2017 remained almost 50pc below 2007 figures.
However, there is no pool of unemployed builders to draw on as the sector ramps up again, the researchers found, thanks to a combination of emigration, retraining and other routes out of the sector.
Since peaking in 2010, the numbers of unemployed construction workers has fallen back to 2007 levels, even with employment dramatically lower.
In fact, a lack of available builders is likely to have implications for the recovery of the sector, with the authors of the report of the opinion that inward migration is likely to play an important role in meeting the demand for labour as the growing housing marking creates renewed demand in the sector.
In the opening two months of 2018, housing completions grew by 46pc year-on-year to 1,608 units, according to the latest Goodbody Housebuilding Tracker.
The report found that the smaller cohort of builders now working in Ireland are older, better educated and more likely to be Irish-born.
Article written by the Irish independent