Number signing on Live Register rises by 1,700


THE UNEMPLOYMENT rate grew slightly in November, with the number of people signing on the seasonally adjusted Live Register increasing by 1,700.

The increase pushed the standardised unemployment rate up by 0.1 per cent to 14.5 per cent, some 0.3 per cent lower than the rate recorded in November of last year.

Figures released yesterday by the Central Statistics Office show a rise in the register of jobseeker’s benefit and allowance claimants to 448,600.

In unadjusted terms, there were 429,567 people signing on the register, a monthly fall of less than 1,000. The unadjusted rate has increased by 4,565 (1.1 per cent) so far this year.

The unemployment rate for November was the joint highest recorded this year but estimates have remained in a narrow range throughout 2011, which the CSO said indicated that “while fluctuations are occurring between months the underlying trend has been relatively flat”.

Alan McQuaid, chief economist at Bloxham Stockbrokers, said the figures were disappointing and the fall in unadjusted claimants represented people emigrating and going back to education rather than market recovery.

“With the global economy slowing down, the labour market is expected to remain under pressure for some time to come, with things likely to get worse before they get better, putting yet more strain on the country’s public finances,” he said.

Small business group Isme said the figures highlighted the need to bring forward pro-enterprise policies in next week’s Budget that would assist businesses to retain and create jobs.

“Proposals such as VAT hikes, sick pay schemes, motor tax and excise duty increases will have the opposite effect and will only encourage enterprises to cut back further and shed jobs,” Isme chief executive Mark Fielding said.

Some 41.9 per cent (179,890) of those on the register are now regarded as long-term claimants, up 19.7 per cent on the same period last year.

A welfare recipient who is signing on for a year or more is considered to be long-term jobless.

The number of male long-term claimants increased by 19,939 (18.1 per cent) in the year to November, with the number for females up 9,624 (24.1 per cent), giving an overall annual increase of 29,563.

The number of Irish nationals on the register has increased by 3,828 (1.1 per cent) this year, with non-Irish claimants up 1 per cent (737).

Increased unemployment has been recorded in six out of eight regions of the State so far this year, with the sharpest rise in the southeast (2.5 per cent). The number of people claiming benefits has fallen by 0.1 per cent in both the west and midwest regions.

The number of females signing on has increased in all eight regions so far this year, with the largest percentage increase in the southeast (up 7.9 per cent).

However, the number of men on the register has fallen in seven of the eight regions, with the Dublin region the only one showing a rise (up 0.5 per cent). The largest decrease was in the west region (3.6 per cent).

The disparity between the sexes suggests younger men are removing themselves from the labour force either through emigration or returning to education.