Long-term jobless figures up by one-fifth to 180,000
THE number of long-term unemployed has increased by a fifth over the past year.
The latest figures revealed the jobs crisis is continuing, with the numbers signing on to the live register during November rising by 1,700 to 448,600.
The monthly figures show the unemployment rate now stands at 14.5pc.
The numbers signing on during November have reached their joint highest level so far this year.
The number of long-term claimants stands at almost 180,000.
There has been a rise of almost 6pc amongst women claiming benefits to more than 153,000 over the year, while the number of men dropped slightly to over 276,000.
The figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) revealed the trend in a drop in under-25s signing on has continued, with a reduction of 4,942 recorded in the 12 months to November.
The south-east witnessed the largest percentage increase, at 2.5pc, in those signing on.
Construction industry bosses have warned a further 25,000 direct jobs in the trade will be lost next year after the Government froze planned infrastructure projects.
The building trade accounts for half of the total employment drop, according to the Construction Industry Federation (CIF).
Meanwhile, the number of new homes built so far this year has hit a record low -- less than 8,700 houses and apartments have been completed.
Figures from the Department of the Environment show that just 37 homes have been built in Limerick City, with 1,082 in Cork.
Experts last night warned that the total number likely to be completed by the end of the year would be less than 10,000.
The lowest rate on record was in 1988 when 15,654 units were completed. This compares with 93,419 in 2006, the height of the construction boom.