Numbers on unemployment benefit fell again in December
The number of people claiming unemployment benefits fell again last month, according to the latest Live Register figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
The seasonally adjusted register, which also includes casual and part-time workers, was 430,900 in December, down 1,400 on November’s total.
This gave rise to a standardised unemployment rate of 14.6 per cent, unchanged from the previous month.
The CSO’s quarterly household survey put the rate of unemployment at 14.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2012.
Yesterday’s figures showed the number of people claiming benefits fell by 11,051 last year.
“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 the figures showed the number of male claimants fell by 1,800 in December, with female claimants increasing by 400.
At the end of December 269,886 men were signing on the register and 153,847 women.
Male claimants fell by 9,837 (3.5 per cent) in the 12 months to December, while female claimants fell by 1,214 (0.8 per cent). The figures showed the number of people under the age of 25 on the register fell by 7,402 or 10 per cent last year.
Impact of emigration
Annual falls in those aged under 25 have now occurred in all months since July 2010.
But long-term claimants in December were 187,144, up 6,346 or 3.5 per cent on an annual basis.
Chambers Ireland chief executive Ian Talbot said the figures were proof the Republic was recovering slowly, but steadily.
However, trade union Siptu warned that while the figures were to be welcomed, they hid the impact of emigration.
Siptu economist Marie Sherlock said an exodus of about 8,000 craft workers off the Live Register accounted for almost three-quarters of the fall signing on during 2012. She said many of those workers had, presumably, left the country.
Ms Sherlock said two out of three who came off the register were aged under 25, suggesting many of them went on to back-to-education schemes.
The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises association called on the Government to address long-term unemployment by way of stimulus.
“We need a real and coherent jobs policy, instead of . . . PR-generated lip service, a few training schemes and the hopeless and harmful reliance on emigration, to somehow tackle the problem,” said chief executive Mark Fielding.