Live Register hits 10-year low as economy nears full employment

Latest monthly figures show number of claimants fell 2,200 to 233,100

Employment figures are going up: Unemployment in Ireland has fallen nearly 10 percentage points from the peak of 15.9 per cent in December 2011 during the financial crisis

Employment figures are going up: Unemployment in Ireland has fallen nearly 10 percentage points from the peak of 15.9 per cent in December 2011 during the financial crisis

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The number of claimants on the Live Register fell again last month as the Irish economy converges on full employment.

The latest monthly figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show the number of people signing-on dropped by 2,200 (0.9 per cent) in March, bringing the seasonally adjusted total to 233,100, its lowest level since July 2008.

While the register is not a measure of unemployment, as people with part-time work can be entitled to benefits, it reflects conditions in the labour market.

The latest register comes as separate figures this week put the State’s official jobless rate at 6.1 per cent in March. The economy is now on course to hit full employment, equivalent to a jobless rate of 5 per cent, early next year.

Unemployment here has fallen nearly 10 percentage points from the peak of 15.9 per cent in December 2011 during the financial crisis.

The turnaround means Ireland’s jobless rate is now 2.4 per cent lower than the euro zone average of 8.5 per cent.

Annual fall

On a seasonally-adjusted basis, the latest Live Register showed a monthly decrease of 1,600 men and 700 women in March. The number of long-term unemployed people on the Live Register at the end of March was 94,733, which equated to annual fall of nearly 17 per cent.

There were 49,466 casual and part-time workers on the register, which represented 21.3 per cent of the total.

The percentage of under-25s on the register now stands at 10.8 per cent, down from 11.5 per cent in March 2017 and 12.2 per cent in February 2016.

A breakdown of the figures shows craft workers remained the largest occupational group on the register, accounting for 17.5 per cent, despite the fact that the number in the group fell over the year by 8,574 to 40,725.

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