Drop in dole numbers may be due to increased emigration
THE number of people signing on the dole fell by more than 3,000 last month, pushing the unemployment rate down marginally.
There were 439,600 people on the seasonally adjusted live register in January, over 3,000 fewer than in December or at the same time last year.
However, long-term unemployment rose as the numbers out of work for more than a year increased by more than 23,000 to 183,849 -- meaning they now make up over 41pc of the total, new Central Statistics Office figures show.
The number of short-term claimants, however, fell by over 26,000 and overall the unemployment rate fell from 14.3 to 14.2pc, the lowest it's been since last June.
While more than 10,000 new people have been signing on to the dole every week this year, another 9,000 signed off each week -- which could be because they got a job, were no longer entitled to claim, left the country or went back to college.
The total number on the live register is up to 439,589, but this has to be adjusted to reflect the fact that there is always a seasonal dip in the numbers working after Christmas.
While the drop in numbers would be positive if it meant more people were getting work, it is more likely to reflect many giving up hope of finding a job at home and emigrating, the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU) said.
"Of particular concern is the number of people who have been on the live register for more than a year," said INOU co-ordinator John Stewart.