Live Register continues to shrink as economy improves

CSO figures show number of claimants signing on fell by nearly 4,000 last month

CSO figures show the number of claimants in March fell to the lowest level since 2008. Photograph: Alan Betson

CSO figures show the number of claimants in March fell to the lowest level since 2008. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The Live Register has recorded another big monthly drop in the number of people signing on, reflecting the current strength of Ireland’s labour market.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show the number of claimants fell by 3,900 in March to stand at 271,700, the lowest level since 2008.

This follows drops of 2,800 in February and 3,500 in January. The Live Register is not a measure of unemployment as claimants can work part time.

Separate CSO figures, published earlier in the week, put the State’s headline rate of unemployment at 6.4 per cent.

In unadjusted terms, the latest Live Register numbers in March stood at 267,202, an annual decrease of 48,162 or 15.3 per cent.

The figures show the number of men signing on fell by 30,505 (16.4 per cent) in the year to March while the number of women on the register dropped by 17,657 (13.7 per cent).

Long-term claimants

They also reveal the number of long-term claimants fell by 19,485, or 21.8 per cent, on an annual basis to 113,957.

The CSO noted the number of people on various job-activation programmes was 67,949 as of February, a fall of 11,633 (14.6 per cent) from the previous year, when there were 79,612 people in activation programmes.

Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O’Connor welcomed the latest drop in those signing on. “These figures, combined with the CSO monthly figures on Tuesday which showed a drop in unemployment from 6.6 per cent to 6.4 per cent, demonstrate significant and continuing progress in the direction of full employment in this country,” she said.

“I am, however, extremely conscious of the challenges ahead, particularly Brexit-related challenges,” she added, noting the State’s industrial agencies were focused on building the optimum environment for employment growth.