The Western Development Commission (WDC ) has published a new report analysing employment data for Industry in the Western Region. Industry includes mining, utilities and waste management but by far the largest element is manufacturing.
In 1996, Industry accounted for 19.5 per cent of total employment in Mayo. As the county’s population grew and its economic structure changed, Industry’s relative position declined. By 2016, 14.2 per cent of all employment in Mayo was in Industry. This is still far higher than the country as a whole (11.4 per cent ).
The actual number of Mayo residents working in Industry however, was higher in 2016 (7,312 ) than twenty years earlier (7,128 ). Industry had a lower share of the total because the total number of jobs grew even more than the number of Industry jobs.
Mayo’s industrial employment is dominated by three key sectors – MedTech, chemicals amd pharma and Agri-food – each accounting for about 20 per cent of industrial employment. Mayo has the fourth highest share in MedTech in Ireland.
Author of the report, WDC Policy Analyst Pauline White, said: "For people living in county Mayo, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, meat processing, beverages and machinery and equipment are the largest industrial activities. This is influenced by Mayo-based companies such as Allergan, Baxter Healthcare, Hollister, Ballina Beverages, Dawn meats, McHales and Major Equipment. There is also commuting from Mayo to manufacturing plants in surrounding counties."
At 41.9 per cent of total employment, Ballyhaunis has the highest share of residents working in Industry among Ireland’s 200 towns and cities (1,500+ population ).
For Mayo, Ballinrobe (17.6 per cent ) and Westport (17.3 per cent ) are next highest, followed by the large towns of Ballina (14.5 per cent ) and Castlebar (11.2 per cent ). Claremorris has the lowest share at 10.2 per cent. As this is based on where a person lives, some of these people may be commuting to work in another town/county.
68.1 per cent of people working in industry in Mayo are men. Male industrial employment grew by 18.9 per cent between 2011 and 2016, far stronger than the 4.9 per cent growth for women. This was partly due to some recovery from previous job losses in male-dominated sectors supplying the building industry.
Total Industry employment in Mayo increased by 14 per cent between 2011 and 2016, greater than nationally (+9.4 per cent ). Transport Equipment (+256.1, +105 people ) increased substantially, influenced by agricultural machinery manufacturers and also commuting to Valeo in Tuam. Machinery & Electrical Equipment (+32.5 per cent ) and MedTech (+27.9 per cent ) also had strong growth.
According to Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO of the WDC: "Industry plays a greater role in Mayo’s labour market than nationally. As policy increasingly focuses on services, it is vital that the importance of manufacturing continues to be recognised and the sector supported. High-tech manufacturing is very strong in Mayo, however automation poses a threat to some jobs in this, as well as in more traditional sectors. Upskilling for the industrial workforce, to adapt to changing skill needs, as well as greater industrial diversification - should be key priorities for the county."