Almost 100,000 out of work for over three years
ALMOST 100,000 people have been out of work for over three years. Despite a general improvement in employment rates, shocking new figures show the number of ultra-long term unemployed is continuing to rise.
There are now 99,972 people out of work for over three years which is up almost 40pc in the last two years, new Central Statistics Office figures show.
This group of unemployed has risen consistently and quadrupled since 2009 when it stood at just over 25,000.
People aged 25-34 are the most likely to be out of work for over three years, accounting for more than a quarter of the total, while men outnumber women almost three to one.
The Live Register figures indicate a general pick-up in the labour market with the numbers signing on down to their lowest level in over five years. There has been a fall of 36,500 in the numbers claiming unemployment benefits in the past year and on a seasonally adjusted basis the numbers fell by 4,400 in June to 386,200.
However, the number of long term claimants who have been out of work for over a year rose by more than 5,000 last month to 188,858, some 47.4pc of the total.
Social Protection Minister Joan Burton, who is bidding to be elected leader of the Labour Party tomorrow, welcomed the continued fall in the unemployment rate from a high of 15.1pc in February 2012 to 11.6pc now.
"Month by month through the Pathways to Work strategy to reduce unemployment, we are continuing to help people back to work, as demonstrated again by today's figures," she said. "These are welcome and very encouraging, but there remain far too many people on the Live Register and it's clear we have much more to do to resolve this problem."
Davy analyst David McNamara said the "ultra-long-term" unemployed was the only group that was continuing to grow as most claimants spend a short period on the Live Register, with a third of people moving off it in under three months.
The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed said that people out of work for very long periods needed extra support and training to help them rejoin the workforce.
"The longer you are out of work, the harder it is to come back, people lose confidence in their abilities, so we need a system that really engages with people's needs," said INOU spokesperson Brid O'Brien.
The number of people signing on has fallen for 24 months in a row when seasonally adjusted, said Merrion stockbrokers economist Alan McQuaid.
One in five people on the Live Register is from the building sector, even though their numbers fell the fastest with a 15pc drop as the construction industry picked up.