Saturday 21 April 2018

Live Register falls for 14th straight month

Aideen Sheehan

Aideen Sheehan

THE number of people signing on the Live Register has fallen for the 14th month in a row.

New figures from the Central Statistics Office show further positive signs in the labour market as the unemployment rate is down to 13.4pc.

This compares with 14.6pc a year ago and a peak of 15.1pc in February 2012.

The numbers signing on fell by 3,400 on a seasonally adjusted basis in August down to 415,300.

This total has been falling since June 2012, the latest Live Register figures show.

The unadjusted figures show that the numbers signing on are down by almost 21,000 in the last year to 435,300.

Men account for nearly all the drop in the numbers signing on as the number of women on the Live Register is almost unchanged over the year.

However the proportion of people out of work longterm increased slightly to 45.2pc.

This was because the number of shortterm claimants fell faster than the numbers signing on for a year or more.

One in five people on the Live Register - around 85,000 in total - are casual and parttime workers who sign on for the days they're not working.

The number of people aged 25 and under on the Live Register is down over 10pc in the last year, and has been falling continuously for over three years, the CSO noted.

Analysts believe emigration is playing a big part in this as many young people are leaving the country to find work.

Joan Burton, Social Protection Minister, claimed the figures show the Government is making progress in getting people back to work.

"The economic chaos which this Government inherited on taking office meant there was a very real risk that the Live Register would exceed 500,000. We stabilised the economy as a first priority and the results are now being seen," she said.

Ms Burton accepted the figures were still too great but welcomed reports that the long-term unemployment crisis is easing to some degree, with figures from last month showing it is down 1% to 8.1%.

"Although those numbers remain far too high, real progress is being made, and getting people back to work will remain the Government's number one priority," she said.

The number of people who have been unemployed for over a year stands at more than 196,000.

A report in the last week, also from the CSO, estimated that 89,000 people had emigrated from Ireland in the year to April - 50,900 of them were Irish and more than 40,000 were under the age of 24.

Davy stockbrokers said the unemployment report revealed 45% of those signing on for benefits have been unable to find work for at least one year.

But the total on the register is at its lowest since mid-2009.

Elsewhere, Davy noted that the CSO report is showing up skill mismatch in the labour market as one fifth of the long-term unemployed were construction workers.

It pointed to a 10% fall in the number of under-25s signing on as evidence that emigration was the answer for lack of work.

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprise association said any progress in the jobs crisis was being hindered by an "unfit-for-purpose" social welfare system and high business costs.


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