Tuesday, 1 June 1965
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Andrews: asked the Taoiseach whether it is feasible for the Central Statistics Office to prepare figures for the total number in employment in the main branches of economic activity at more frequent intervals than annually; and whether it would be possible to publish these figures within a reasonable time after the date to which they refer.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. S. Flanagan) (for the Taoiseach): While quarterly estimates are prepared of the numbers of persons engaged in industries covered by the Census of Industrial Production, it is not possible to produce more frequently than at annual intervals satisfactory estimates of the total labour force and of the number of persons at work in all the main branches of economic activity. Such estimates are based on the last available Census of Population together  with data on employment from many sources which are used as indicators of the current trends in various sectors. These indicators for very important elements, such as the number engaged in agriculture, are available only once a year and estimates for more frequent intervals are therefore not feasible.
Furthermore, as was pointed out in “Economic Statistics—Budget 1964”, as the latest Census becomes more remote the degree of reliability which can be attached to these estimates diminishes, since for some sectors the current employment indicators provide only partial coverage, while for other sectors very little information can be obtained on current trends. In view of this situation, it is necessary to await the accumulation of all relevant data before the estimates are made. In fact, in order to endeavour to ensure the reliability of the figures for each individual sector they must be considered in aggregate in relation to independent totals based on general demographic data. Consequently any substantial  advance in the time schedule of publication is not possible.
Notwithstanding the precautions mentioned, it will be recalled that the annual labour-force estimates for the intercensal period 1951-61 required extensive revision when the results of the 1961 Census of Population became available.
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