State’s jobless rate drops to 11.2% as Live Register falls

Latest figures reflect improving labour market conditions but also the impact of emigration

The latest set of numbers from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed the number of claimants on the register dropped by 2,900 in August, the 26th consecutive monthly drop.

The latest set of numbers from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed the number of claimants on the register dropped by 2,900 in August, the 26th consecutive monthly drop.

Wed, Sep 3, 2014, 14:04

The State’s unemployment rate, as measured by the Live Register, has fallen to another five-year low of 11.2 per cent as conditions in the labour market continue to improve.

The latest set of numbers from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed the number of claimants on the register dropped by 2,900 in August, the 26th consecutive monthly drop.

As a result, the seasonally adjusted register, which includes casual and part-time workers as well as those on Jobseeker’s Allowance, stood at 380,100 at the end of August, its lowest level since March 2009.

This represents an annual decrease of 36,955 or 8.5 per cent.

The updated figures gave rise to a standardised measure of unemployment of 11.2 per cent, down from 11.3 per cent the previous month, and down from a recessionary high of 15.1 per cent in early 2012.

Nonetheless, the Live Register measure is below the rate captured by the CSO’s most recent Quarterly National Household Survey, which put the State’s jobless rate at 11.5 per cent in the second quarter of this year.

The number of long-term claimants, those out of job for more than a year, on the register was 187,598, down 9,210 or 4.7 per cent on an annual basis.

However, the figures showed the number of long-term claimants increased as a proportion of the total.

In August, 47.1 per cent of all those on the register compared to 45.2 per cent in the same month last year.

The steady decline in the numbers signing on over the past two years, while reflective of improving economic conditions, is also linked to emigration.

About 220,000 young people aged 15-35 left the country in the five years to April, separate CSO statistics show.

The decline in the Live Register is also linked to the take-up in Government job activation schemes, like JobBridge, which may not necessarily lead to fully paid positions.

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton welcomed the fall in those signing on but warned that the jobless figure remains high.

“These statistics, together with the latest Quarterly National Household Survey figures published recently, show we are succeeding in tackling unemployment and that our economy and jobs market are recovering,” she said.

“Our priority is to help unemployed people get back into work. We are beginning to see a positive turn in our domestic economy and it is imperative that we help those who have been hit during the recession get back on the ladder of recovery as quickly as possible.”

Investec economist Philip O’Sullivan said: “All in all there is a familiar feel to this release. The recovery in the jobs market (total employment has increased for seven successive quarters) is playing a key role in bringing down Ireland’s unemployment rate, but the benefits have yet to be felt across all parts of the labour force,”.

Isme, Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association warned that calls for wage increases from Labour ministers were having “a negative and debilitating effect on job prospects” and called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to rein in “the perpetrators” for the sake of jobs and the economy.

Chief executive Mark Fielding said: “The pace of job creation is glacially slow, not helped by calls for wage increases from the usual quarters in trade unions and labour ministers, the former attempting to bolster their dwindling numbers, while the latter have started their election campaign.”