Live Register numbers fall again
The number of people claiming unemployment benefits fell again last month, according to the latest Live Register figures.
The seasonally adjusted register, which also includes casual and part-time workers, was at 430,900 in December, down 1,400 from November’s total.
This gave rise to a standardised unemployment rate of 14.6 per cent, unchanged from the previous month.
The figures show the number claiming benefits fell by 11,051 in the 12 months to December from 14.8 to 14.6 per cent.
The Central Statistics Office’s quarterly national household survey estimated the rate of unemployment at 14.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2012.
“While the trend in the overall Live Register continues to be one of movement within a small range, annual decreases were recorded in all months of 2012,” the CSO said.
A breakdown of today's figures showed the number of male claimants fell by 1,800 in December, with female claimants increasing by 400.
As of the end of December, there were 269,886 men signing on the register and 153,847 women.
The number of male claimants fell by 9,837 (3.5 per cent) in the 12 months to December, while the number of female claimants fell by 1,214 (0.8 per cent).
This compares with a decrease of 9,079 (-3.1 per cent) to 279,723 for males and an increase of 6,784 (+4.6 per cent) to 155,061 for females in the year to December 2011.
The figures showed the number of people under the age of 25 on the Live Register decreased by 7,402 or 10.0 per cent last year.
Annual decreases in persons aged under 25 have now occurred in all months since July 2010.
The number of long-term claimants on the register in December was 187,144, up 6,346 or 3.5 per cent on an annual basis.
Reacting to the figures, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises association called on the Government to address the problem of long-term unemployment through a stimulus package aimed at assisting SMEs to retain and create jobs.
Chief executive Mark Fielding said: “The Government must get its act together on the continuing jobs crisis.
"We need a real and coherent jobs policy, instead of empty announcements, PR-generated lip service, a few training schemes and the ‘hopeless and harmful’ reliance on emigration, to somehow tackle the problem," he said.