Sunday 18 February 2018

8,000 more join dole queue

More than 8,000 people joined the dole queue last month as the unemployment crisis deepened, it was revealed today.

Official figures confirmed 452,500 people were claiming benefits in July - up 34,400 on last year.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) also revealed professionals made up a sixth of new applicants.

The unemployment rate is now 13.7pc of the workforce.

Eamon O Cuiv TD, minister for social protection, said the biggest concern in many households was the loss of a job, where a household has gone from two incomes to one or from one to none.

"The Government is very concerned at the difficulties households are facing because of unemployment and the creation of new jobs is our top priority," he said.

"The Live Register has risen every July without exception over the last 20 years due to seasonal factors. This increase in the Live Register during the summer will be reversed in the autumn."

The Live Register includes part-time workers, who work up to three days a week, and seasonal and casual workers entitled to Jobseekers Benefit or Allowance.

But Mark Fielding, of the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association, claimed the true level of unemployment was under-reported, with increased emigration, increased participation in state training initiatives and a significant rise in individuals remaining in education skewing the figures.

"These facts mask the true picture in the jobs market, where well over half a million of our citizens are out of work," he added.

The seasonally adjusted figure takes into account workers laid off during the summer months and included 3,900 men and 4,600 women.

But the unadjusted total on the Live Register was 466,824 - up 13,942 since June and a rise of 34,403 over the previous year.

Mr O Cuiv said that, while the register figures are at a very high level, July covered a five-week period.

"A significant number of people who came on to the Live Register since the start of May are people who were in receipt of the Back to Education Allowance," he said.

"Recipients of this allowance qualify for jobseeker's payments during the summer break and many of those are now on the register over the summer months."

Willie Penrose, Labour Party spokesman on enterprise, claimed the figures show that solving the job crisis has dropped to the bottom of the Government's agenda.

"Government cuts do nothing to create jobs," he said.

"In fact, the more money they take out of the economy, the more likely it is that the numbers of people at work will continue to decline."

Press Association

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