25,000 fewer people signing on now compared to a year ago
THERE are almost 25,000 fewer people on the Live Register than a year ago.
New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the numbers signing on the Live Register fell to 391,507 in November – down 25,700 on this time last year.
The seasonally adjusted figures reveal a similar drop over the year, with the numbers signing on down 3,400 last month alone and the figure is now at its lowest point in over four years.
This has brought the unemployment rate down to 12.5pc in November and it's now fallen for almost two years from a high point of 15.1pc in February 2012.
Men appear to have fared better than women in the jobs front as three times as many men as women left the Live Register in November, while long-term unemployment actually increased amongst females.
The number of people signing on for over a year fell by nearly 4pc in the year, though the long-term unemployed make up a growing proportion of those on the Live Register, at 45.9pc.
One in five people on the Live Register is in the craft and related sector – mainly construction – but the numbers out of work in this group fell faster than any other.
There are now more than 84,000 people working in various back-to-work employment and training schemes. This group is not counted on the Live Register.
Merrion economist Alan McQuaid hailed the latest figures noting that the unemployment rate is now the lowest it's been since July 2009, though still too high for comfort.
"The unemployment rate remains the key indicator as far as the economy is concerned and this morning's announcement of 150 job losses at the Pfizer plant in Newbridge shows the recovery path for the labour market won't entirely be smooth," he said.
Davy economist Conall Mac Coille said that the Live Register figures and surveys of companies' employment intentions indicated jobs growth of around 2pc this year.
"Today's Live Register figures reinforce our view that the underlying trends in the Irish economy are more favourable than suggested by the GDP data and that the economy should rebound in the second half of 2013," he said.
The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) welcomed the fall in the number of people on the dole, but urged the Government to focus on tackling the issues facing owner-managers including rising energy costs, local authority charges, rents and transport.
"In addition, the social welfare trap is not only acting as a disincentive to taking up gainful employment but also directly leading to increased black economy activity, which threatens the viability of legitimate businesses," said ISME chief executive Mark Fielding.