In their report,The Nature and Functioning of Labour Markets, published in December 1988, NESC identified three broad aspects of the labour market which required analysis, as follows: (i) unemployment — the causes of the increase in and persistence of Irish unemployment; (ii) employment — the determinants of employment at the industry and the enterprise level and (iii) labour supply — in particular, the implications of emigration and the labour supply of married women.
Since the council identified these research topics in 1988, it has undertaken a programme of studies. First, the council have had a technical study of the growth of unemployment completed. The council drew on this work in preparing their report strategy for the nineties and, in particular, in formulating their policies for employment and the labour market in that report. The council did not publish this study separately because of its highly technical nature. A part of the study was, however, published in the Economic and Social Review for July, 1990.