Further fall in numbers on Live Register

Thu, Jan 31, 2013, 00:00

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits fell for a seventh successive month in January, according to the latest Live Register figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The seasonally adjusted register, which includes casual and part-time workers, was 430,100 in January, down 900 on the previous month’s total.

The standardised rate of unemployment, however, remained unchanged at 14.6 per cent. The CSO’s quarterly household survey for the third quarter of 2012 put the rate of unemployment at 14.8 per cent.

The number of people claiming benefits has now fallen by 9,900 in the past 12 months. A breakdown of the figures showed there were 273,627 men and 155,769 women signing on at the end of January.

The number of male claimants has decreased by 10,266 (3.6 per cent) since January last year, while the number of female claimants has increased slightly by 73 to 155,769.

The figures showed the number of people aged under 25 on the register had decreased by 6,981 (9.3 per cent) in the past 12 months.

Declines in the number of under-25s signing on have now occurred in all months since July 2010, reflecting the impact of emigration.

Long-term claimants

The number of long-term claimants – those signing on for more than a year – stood at 189,857 in January, up 6,008 or 3.3 per cent on an annual basis.

The number of long-term male claimants increased by 922 (0.7 per cent) in the 12 months to January, while the comparable increase for females was 5,086 (10 per cent).

“While the numbers are still worryingly high, the rate of growth has slowed considerably over the past year,” Davy analyst David McNamara said.

“The biggest falls in employment in 2012 were largely attributable to public sector cuts, which should abate in 2013 – providing less of a drag on employment growth,” he said.

However, Isme, the association which represents small and medium-sized businesses, said the figures confirmed the stagnation in the economy and the “dire need” for a jobs stimulus plan.

Isme chief executive Mark Fielding said: “Included in these figures are an increasing number of long-term unemployed, while the real plight of our country is masked by massive youth emigration”.

Siptu’s campaigns and equality organiser, Ethel Buckley, said: “It is clear that the only factor which is maintaining the jobs crisis at the same level is the impact of emigration.”