Dole queues shorten in December – CSO
DOLE queues shortened slightly last month with the number of people signing on down 3,300, a new report reveals.
There are now 443,200 claiming unemployment and jobseekers benefits, according to the seasonally adjusted figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
The rate of unemployment is 14.3pc of the workforce, down from 14.4pc in November.
The drop in those signing on was entirely accounted for by 3,300 men coming off the dole while there was a small increase in the number of women claiming benefits.
However, over the year there was a 4.6pc jump in the number of women joining the live register (up to 155,061) while the number of men claimants decreased by just over 3pc (to 279,723).
The CSO said the number of long term claimants - people signing on for a year or more - rose by more than 25,000 since the same time last year to 180,798.
Avine McNally, assistant director of the Small Firms Association, said the figures highlighted the huge challenges being faced to get people back to work.
"What is also concerning about the continuing levels of job losses is that our ability to create new jobs is being damaged by rising business costs, uncertainty in the economy and limited access to credit," she said.
"Small businesses are struggling to save jobs as they have to cut costs further in the face of ongoing economic uncertainty in both the Eurozone and in the domestic market."
Ms McNally called on the government to prioritise job creation measures.