THE number of people signing on in Kerry increased for the third month in a row in December, with 451 people across the county joining Kerry's dole queues last month.
The live register at each of Kerry's seven social welfare offices increased in December with the 16,322 people in the county signing on by the end of the month, the highest figure since March last year.
These latest live register figures, released by the Central Statistics Office, do contain some good news for the county. While the number signing on in Kerry did increase month on month the December 2012 figure shows a reduction of almost 600 people when compared with the Kerry live register tally for December 2011.
In terms of the individual offices Tralee Social Welfare Office, which also deals with claimants from Castleisland, saw the largest increase in its register with 120 people joining the local register which now stands at 6,534.
The Killarney register increased by 105 to stand at 3,046. In Listowel the register went up by 73 to reach 3,017 while in Killorglin an increase of 34 sees the local register at 1,313.
In Kenmare saw an addition of 48 people to bring the register there to 767; an increase of 44 in Dingle brings its register to 891 while Cahersiveen's register went up by 27 to 754.
The number of people signing on the register is not truly indicative of the actual levels of joblessness. It provides a reasonable guide to the levels of joblessness in the county but also includes part-time and casual workers who are entitled to Jobseeker's Benefit or Allowance. However, it is generally believed the live register would be significantly larger were it not for the large numbers of Kerry people who have emigrated to seek work overseas.