Sharp fall in under-25s on Live Register


THE NUMBER of people under the age of 25 on the Live Register has fallen sharply, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

In the year to January, the number of persons aged under 25 signing on fell by 6.892 or 8.4 per cent. The bulk of the fall is accounted for by men, where the number has fallen by almost 11 per cent.

At the same time there was a rise of just over 1 per cent in the number of people over the age of 25 on the register.

“This continues the pattern seen over the last two years whereby there has been a general downward trend in the number of persons aged under 25 on the Live Register, while the rate of increase in the number of persons aged over 25 has been slowing,” the CSO said in a statement.

The overall rate of unemployment declined one-tenth of one percentage point to stand at 14.2 per cent.

This is still considerably higher than the 10.4 per cent average across the EU in December.

The Irish unemployment rate has remained remarkably steady in the 14 months since retreating from its recessionary peak of 14.8 per cent in November 2010.

This stability was achieved despite a net 33,000 decline in the numbers employed in the first three quarters of 2011.

The overall numbers signing on to the Live Register in January fell by 3,200, CSO data showed yesterday. The seasonally-adjusted Live Register total now stands at 439,600, a fall of 0.7 per cent compared with December last year.

The Live Register differs from the unemployment figures. Approximately 300,000 people are formally jobless. The difference is partially explained by the Live Register including those who work on a part-time and on a seasonal basis.

On an annual basis, the register was 2,300 lower than in January 2011, when 441,900 people were signing on.

Over the year 8,110 fewer male claimants signed on in net terms, a 2.8 per cent decrease, leaving a total of 283,893 in January.

This was offset by a rise in the number of women signing on, with a 3.3 per cent rise to 155,696 over the year.

However, analysts noted that the declining labour force participation had some impact on unemployment rates. “Even if the unemployment rate has fallen since Q3, this may not reflect a recovery in employment,” said Davy economist Conall Mac Coille.

The figures also indicated that long-term unemployment remained a growing problem over the year. The number of those unemployed for longer than 12 months accounted for more than 183,000 out of the total figure, or 41.8 per cent. That compares with 36.3 per cent in January 2011.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions said there was little comfort to be taken from the decline.

“The level of unemployment in Ireland is so high that it really is a national emergency. And the growing numbers of long-term unemployed revealed in the CSO data – up by a substantial 24,000 in just one year – is very worrying,” said Ictu economic adviser Paul Sweeney.

Business group Ibec called for the Government to make tackling unemployment its main objective.

“While it is positive to see some decline in the Live Register, the total number signing on remains exceptionally high. We urgently need a new approach from Government and the troika to get people back to work,” said Ibec chief economist Fergal O’Brien.

That call was echoed by the Irish Small Medium Enterprises Association. “To date all we have had is announcement after announcement of Government promises rather than actually addressing the causes of severe unemployment,” said chief executive Mark Fielding.