Sharp fall in numbers of young jobless

Decline attributed to emigration, jobs initiatives and longer periods in education

Youth emigration has been on the rise since 2008, with CSO migration estimates released last April showing that, between 2008 and 2012 the numbers from the 15-24 age group who are estimated to have emigrated have doubled from 17,800 to 35,800.

Youth emigration has been on the rise since 2008, with CSO migration estimates released last April showing that, between 2008 and 2012 the numbers from the 15-24 age group who are estimated to have emigrated have doubled from 17,800 to 35,800.

 

The number of under-25s on the live register has fallen dramatically in a number of social welfare offices in the past year with some witnessing a drop of over a quarter.

Analysis of figures from 123 social welfare offices nationwide between January 2012 and January 2013 show that 90 per cent of offices saw a decrease in the numbers of under-25s on the live register.

The highest declines were recorded in Dingle, Co Kerry; Killybegs, Co Donegal and Bandon, Co Cork all of which witnessed falls of between 25 and 27 per cent in the numbers signing on compared to a national average of 9.3 per cent.

Other areas where the live register figures have fallen by more than a fifth were in Ballinrobe, Co Mayo; Tara Street, Dublin and Trim, Co Meath.

Live register figures do not measure unemployment, as they include part-time and seasonal workers in receipt of social welfare. However, the latest CSO quarterly household data confirm that unemployment among under-25s is dropping. It showed that 59,000 people in this age category were unemployed in the last quarter of 2012 compared with 67,700 a year earlier. In the same time period the number of under-25s in employment decreased by 10,600.

This means that, at the end of 2012 there were 19,300 fewer under-25s in the labour force than there were a year earlier.

Although there has been a fall in the number of births recorded from the early 1980s onwards, analysis of the 2011 census figures shows the decrease in the population aged 18 to 24 in the past year was 3,454 so this in itself does not account for the decline.

James Doorley of the National Youth Council of Ireland says the figures indicate that either young people are emigrating or staying in education for longer.

Youth emigration has been on the rise since 2008, with CSO migration estimates released last April showing that, between 2008 and 2012 the numbers from the 15-24 age group who are estimated to have emigrated have doubled from 17,800 to 35,800.

However, Government initiatives such as JobBridge, community enterprise schemes and Springboard, a scheme providing third-level conversion courses, are also having an impact on the numbers of under-25s signing on as those on activation courses no longer appear on the live register.

The Department of Social Welfare points to education and training initiatives aimed at tackling youth unemployment, including Youthreach and the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme, which cater to early school-leavers at different age levels; the Back to Education Allowance and FÁS training schemes.

There are also about 1,500 under-25s on the JobBridge internship programme, with the department citing research indicating that more than 60 per cent of interns secure paid employment within five months of completion.

A further 354 young people were taking part in community employment schemes (as of February 25th); 549 were on the Tús community work placement initiative (as of January 31st); and 312 were availing of back to work allowances (as of December 31st).

A new education and training scheme – Momentum – is also due to be rolled out to 6,500 people who have been unemployed for 12 months or more in 2013. One strand of the initiative is dedicated to under-25s while about 2,500 extra places, funding for which was provided in the last budget, will be earmarked for young people across a range of programmes.