Long-term jobless rate hits 200,000
LONG-TERM unemployment has reached 200,000 for the first time ever despite a slight reduction in the overall numbers out of work.
Unemployed people must be helped to get some of the 13,000 jobs promised in the Government's new €2.25bn infrastructural stimulus package, the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed said yesterday.
This followed publication of new figures showing a 5pc increase in the number of people who have been on the Live Register for over a year, bringing their total to 200,086.
The increase means that 43.5pc of those signing on are long-term unemployed, the CSO figures show.
"This is a deeply worrying figure...people who are long-term unemployed face particular challenges -- if you're long-term unemployed it's infinitely more difficult to get back to work," said INOU co-ordinator John Stewart.
Long-term unemployment now was worse than it was in the previous recession of the 1980s and early '90s when it peaked at around 138,000, he said.
Those out of work long-term must be helped to get some of the new jobs created by infrastructure projects through simple measures such as informing them when vacancies arise, refresher training courses and assistance with interview skills, he added.
The new figures show the total number of people signing on the Live Register fell by 2,300 in July on a seasonally adjusted basis, reversing the increase seen in June. There are now 460,323 people on the Live Register, down almost 10,000 on this time last year, though the unemployment rate remains unchanged at 14.8pc.
But businesses warned that "madcap proposals" to make employers pay more sick pay and PRSI were sabotaging hopes of job creation.
The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association said their phones had been hopping with calls from business owners protesting at the "frightening" proposals by Social Protection Minister Joan Burton.
"There is absolutely no job creation at SME level because of the disastrous uncertainty created by Minister Burton's self-serving rumour mongering of four weeks' sick pay and PRSI increases," said ISME chief executive Mark Fielding.
The number of young people on the Live Register continued to fall with 17.5pc of this age group now signing on, having fallen steadily from over 20pc two years ago.
However, it's believed this is linked to high numbers of young people emigrating or returning to further study, rather than strong employment growth.
Youthwork Ireland said there was a shortfall of 45,000 training places needed to help young people get jobs, and the government internship programme was not enough.
Davy stockbrokers predicted that unemployment would increase during 2012 because of public sector job cuts and euro area recession.
Analysis: Brendan Keenan, Page 20