Friday 23 February 2018

Biggest monthly fall in dole figure since 1996

Aideen Sheehan

THE number of people on the dole has fallen by the largest amount in a single month since 1996.

The drop is the second highest since records began in 1967. It also coincided with new figures showing a large drop in the number of people being made redundant.

This is the second month in a row that unemployment has fallen substantially and the first time since early 2007 that this has happened, according to new Central Statistics Office figures.

Headline figures showed a total of 429,553 people signing on the Live Register in October, down 12,864 -- with the seasonally adjusted figure of 443,000, down 6,600 last month.

The total unemployment rate now stands at 13.6pc -- with seasonally adjusted figures up 17,400 on this time last year, but down from the peak of 455,000 in August.

Commenting in the Dail, Taoiseach Brian Cowen said "there is evidence that the labour market is stabilising".

New redundancy figures also showed a steep decline in the number of people losing their jobs, with 3,910 redundancies notified to the Department of Enterprise last month, down 40pc on October 2009.

Overall, 51,385 people have been made redundant this year which is down 23pc on the same period last year.

Speaking from the Middle East where he is on a trade mission, Enterprise Minister Batt O'Keeffe welcomed the drop.

"These trends allied with our strong export performance, healthy foreign direct investment pipeline and declining unemployment figures, are very encouraging signs of economic recovery," he said.

Welcoming the improved figures, Social Protection Minister Eamon O Cuiv said that 63,000 people on the Live Register were working part-time, while another 25,500 were only signing on to maintain PRSI credits.


Three times as many men as women left the Live Register last month -- though the number of men signing on still outnumbers women by two to one.

The biggest percentage fall (4.7pc) was in Dublin, while the midlands had the smallest decrease at just 1.4pc.

The biggest drop in the numbers on the dole was among professional and semi-professional workers.

Fine Gael enterprise spokesman Richard Bruton claims this was because high-skilled workers were abandoning the country, along with young people under 25.

"In other words, the highly skilled people that are able to leave are abandoning the country in droves," he said.

Labour spokesman Willie Penrose also claimed that "virtually all of the decline recorded today can be attributed to factors such as emigration, the likes of which we have not seen since the 1980s".

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) warned against government complacency over the improved figures, as unemployment was still excessively high.

Irish Independent

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