Jobless rate in the south-east of the country, the highest rate last year
UNEMPLOYMENT could be running at 27pc in the Border regions without emigration and people returning to education, a leading economic thinktank says in a report published today.
The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) said the jobless rate across Ireland would be much higher than the current 14.6pc if people were not moving overseas to chase jobs.
The report agrees with the IMF's latest review of Ireland's bailout programme, published in December, which described the shrinking labour force as a "relief valve".
Spain currently has the highest unemployment rate in Europe at about 26pc.
The ESRI paper on the unemployment crisis shows that the highest unemployment rate last year was seen in the south-east, at 19.4pc, followed by the Border region at 17.7pc, and midlands at 17.4pc.
The midlands and the south-east also experienced the most significant rise in the unemployment rate.
The lowest rates were recorded in Dublin and the south-west at 12.9pc each, and the mid-east at 13.8pc.
The report says that while the Border region suffered the most dramatic employment contraction, it also experienced the most significant contraction in the workforce, down 11pc, which dampened the numbers unemployed.
Report author Edgar Morgenroth said that the unemployment rate in the region with the highest rate was 6.5pc higher than in the lower region.
"National level statistics hide the fact that there are areas with considerably higher unemployment rates than the average and others with considerably lower rates," Mr Morgenroth wrote.