Number in long-term receipt of benefits fell 16% in January

All counties experienced more people on Live Register in 12 months to January with biggest number in Kerry and Leitrim

The number of people relying on long-term welfare benefits fell 16 per cent in January compared with the same period last year, new data from the Central Statistics Office shows.

There were 123,733 people (67 per cent) with a claim duration of less than one year, which is defined as short-term; and 61,003 people with a claim duration of one year or more, which is defined as long-term.

The number of people in receipt of long-term benefits was down 11,644 from a year earlier.

While the Live Register is not a measure of unemployment, as people with part-time work can be entitled to benefits, it does broadly track improvements in the labour market.


The seasonally adjusted Live Register total for January was 184,700 people, down by 700 or 0.4 per cent from December, suggesting the Republic’s labour market continues to tighten despite the wider economic slowdown.

The unadjusted Live Register total stood at 184,736 people for January. Some 53.7 per cent were male and 69.8 per cent were Irish.

All counties saw an increase in the number of people on the Live Register in the 12 months to January.

The counties that saw the greatest increase in the number of people were Kerry (41.7 per cent) and Leitrim (36.8 per cent). The counties with the lowest increase in numbers were Kildare (1.6 per cent) and Tipperary (2.6 per cent).

There were 22,877 people benefiting from the EU’s temporary protection directive included in the figures for January, which was an increase of 1,094 from December.

People between 25 and 54 accounted for just over two-thirds of those on the Live Register in January 2023.

Those aged 25–34 made up 22.6 per cent of the total; while 35-44 year olds made up 23.7 per cent and 45-54 year olds made up 20.4 per cent.

There were 37,089 people availing of activation programmes in December, which was a decrease of 2,548 people (6.4 per cent) from the previous year when there were 39,637 people in these programmes.

The number of people claiming jobseeker’s benefit rose 4.7 per cent (1,717) in January compared with 12 months earlier, while the number of jobseeker’s allowance claims increased by 19.7 per cent (21,362) compared with last year.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter