Unemployment rate at highest for 15 years
UNEMPLOYMENT has reached its highest level since 1995, with the number of people working falling by more than 100,000 in the last 12 months.
An extra 52,000 people became unemployed in the last year, and Irish unemployment is now 3pc higher than the 9.2pc average across Europe, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show.
The number of people working fell by 108,000 to 1.857 million in the year to the first quarter of 2010, although this was a slight improvement on the declines seen the previous year.
The unemployment rate reached 12.9pc which is the highest level seen since 1995, while the long-term unemployment rate now accounts for more than 40pc of the jobless tally.
But the "true unemployment rate" is likely to be 20pc, said the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
"When you add in the tens of thousands who have been forced to emigrate, the tens of thousands who have stayed in, or returned, to education and the many thousands who want full-time work but can only get part-time or casual jobs, you get a more accurate picture," said Ictu economic adviser Paul Sweeney.
Business lobby groups IBEC and ISME called for government measures to tackle the rise in long-term unemployment by investment in training.
Building and agriculture were the worst hit by job losses, but there were increases in hotel and restaurant employment and in information, communications and scientific jobs, Ulster Bank noted.