Unemployment rate drops to lowest level in nearly five years

Live Register number drops by 3,400 in April as economy improves again

Wed, Apr 30, 2014, 14:06

Ireland’s unemployment rate fell to 11.7 per cent this month, its lowest level in nearly five years, as economic conditions continue to improve.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed the number of claimants on the Live Register dropped by 3,400 in April.

This was the 22nd 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 392,700 at the end of April.

The updated figures gave rise to a standardised rate of unemployment of 11.7 per cent, down from 11.8 per cent in March.

Although the annual decrease came from both long-term and short-term unemployment categories, the greatest decline was amongst those unemployed for less than a year.

The figures showed short-term claimants comprised 54.1 per cent or 210,334 of the total.

This was down 9.2 per cent or 21,196 on the same month last year.

Long-term claimants, which made up 45.9 per cent or 178,225 of the overall register, fell by 4.2 per cent or 7,838 on an annual basis.

The number of under-25s on the register decreased by 7,712 or 11.9 per cent over the previous 12 months.

The figures suggest this group now corresponded to about 14. 7 per cent of the overall in April, down from 15.6 per cent in April last year and 16.5 per cent in April 2012.

“While emigration has been a contributory factor in bringing down the numbers on the Live Register over the past two years or so, there is clear evidence that there is more to it than just that, with employment conditions in the majority of sectors in the economy generally improving in the past few months,” Merrion economist Alan McQuaid said.

Davy Stockbrokers said the decline in the Irish unemployment rate through early 2014 suggested the 3.3 per cent employment growth seen last year was continuing.

“Today’s fall in Live Register numbers is good news for the public finances, with the government cognisant that at this pace the unemployment rate is set to fall below 10 per cent by the next election in 2016,” it added.