independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Dole numbers fall below 400,000

The number of people on the dole has dropped below 400,000 for the first time in more than four years

The number of people on the dole has fallen below 400,000 for the first time in more than four years.

The anticipated fall, down to an unemployment rate of 13.2%, has followed four months of continued reduction in the total number of people signing on for benefits.

It is the first time since May 2009 that the live register figures have been below 400,000.

Joan Burton, Minister for Social Protection, who last month said the numbers would break that barrier, said there is still a long way to go to address the unemployment challenge.

"There are still far too many people on the Live Register, and unemployment will remain the most pressing challenge for the foreseeable future, but we are moving decisively in the right direction," she said.

A breakdown of the figures released by the Central Statistics Office shows that a total of 396,512 people were on the register in October - down 23,660 in the year.

The seasonally adjusted figures were not quite as positive but showed continued falls - 3,700 in October alone taking that overall figure to 409,900.

The number of long-term unemployed - people signing on for a year or more - was 182,401 last month.

The report also revealed that in the year to October the number of people aged 25 and over on the Live Register decreased by 16,324.

The number of those aged under 25 fell by 7,336, or 10.5%, in the same period but the report also noted that there has been a fall in the amount of under 25s on the register in every month since July 2010 as emigration gripped Ireland.

Ms Burton said s easonal factors may lead to further fluctuations in the register around Christmas and the New Year.

"However, the overall pattern of a sustained long-term reduction in the Register is now clear," she said.

She also gave commitments that anyone who takes up temporary work or training at this time will have their benefits and claims reinstated without delay when the work or training finishes.

Davy stockbrokers suggested that the figures show the pace of jobs growth may have accelerated through the summer months.

"This bodes well for employment growth and follows the four consecutive quarters of jobs growth to the second quarter of 2013, with employment up 1.8% on the year to the second quarter," a spokesman said.

Davy said emigration was not the only reason for improving figures.

"Although emigration may have pushed down on the unemployment rate in the second half of 2013, it is clearly not the only explanation," a spokesman said.

Davy pointed to promising employment surveys in the business community and the 2,500 additional people in government-sponsored activation programmes.

Press Association

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