Live Register falls but long-term claimants rise

Unemployment rate remains at 13.7 per cent in May

The unemployment rate stayed at 13.7 per cnet in May, but the Live Register fell slightly.

The unemployment rate stayed at 13.7 per cnet in May, but the Live Register fell slightly.

Thu, Jun 6, 2013, 15:44

The Live Register fell in May, but the number of long term claimants rose as Ireland’s unemployment rate remained high.

A total of 426,100 people signed on last month, seasonally adjusted figures showed. That represented a decrease of 700 month on month, and 11,000 year on year, with the register falling to its lowest level since August 2009.

On an unadjusted basis, there were 421,737 on the register last month, falling by 2.6 per cent or 11,170 year on year.

But there was a rise in the number of long-term claimants signing on, with an increase of 1.7 per cent in those signing on for more than a year. The number of women in this category rose by 8.3 per cent or 4,444 over the year, outweighing the 0.9 per cent decline in the male category.

The number of people aged under 25 on the register fell by 7.3 per cent, continuing a trend seen since July 2010.

The Live Register does not measure unemployment, as it also includes casual and part-time workers. Almost 88,000 casual and part-time workers were on the Live Register in May, about 21 per cent of the total number of claimants.

The standardised unemployment rate for May was 13.7 per cent, unchanged from April and in line with the most recent Quarterly National Household Survey.

But Investec Ireland Economics warned that factors such as emigration and people returning to education were helping to reduce unemployment numbers, and tackling the rising number of long-term claimants on the Live Register remained a major priority for policymakers.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions said the rise in long-term claimants should be a cause for serious concern among policymakers at a national and European level.

“It is clear that policy is not working as the underlying trend represented by these figures is moving in the wrong direction,” said congress assistant general secretary Sally Anne Kinahan. “Combined with high youth unemployment figures, we have a situation where one segment of society is becoming entirely detached from the workforce and another left with few options except emigration.”

The Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association, Isme, welcomed the reduction in unemployment but called for renewed efforts to create an environment that fostered job creation.

“The slight reduction in the headline unemployment figures masks the true level of unemployment, which is under-reported through increased emigration, increased participation on state initiatives and a significant rise in individuals remaining in education,” said chief executive Mark Fielding. “The true picture is that well over half a million of our citizens are out of work.”