Long-term unemployment rises


The decline in the numbers of people in employment has slowed down but almost half of those without jobs  have not worked in a year or more, data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has shown.

There were 1,859,100 people in employment in the second quarter of 2010, the CSO’s Quarterly National Household Survey has shown.

This represents an annual decrease in employment of 79,400 - or 4.1 per cent - and compares with an annual decrease in employment of 5.5 per cent in the previous quarter and a decline of 8.2 per cent in the year to the second quarter of 2009.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, 7,600 people lost their jobs in the months April to June, the lowest fall recorded since the first quarter of 2008.

When seasonal factors are taken into account, a quarterly increase of 6,300 in the numbers unemployed was recorded, increasing the official unemployment rate from 12.9 per cent to 13.2 per cent over the quarter.

There are currently 293,600 people unemployed, an increase of 29,000 or 11.0 per cent in the year. This figure represents the lowest annual increase in unemployment since the rise of 23,600 that was recorded in the second quarter of 2008.

While the latest figures indicate a slowdown in the number of people losing their jobs, unemployment is now at a level comparable with that recorded in 1994 and 1995 when the unemployment rates were 14.7 per cent and 12.2 per cent respectively.

Almost half of the 293,600 people who are unemployed have not worked in 12 months or more.

Some 43 per cent of those who are unemployed are now classified as long-term unemployed, compared with 21.7 per cent a year earlier, according to the survey.

The latest figures show 127,000 people or 5.9 per cent of the total working population have not worked in a year or more.

The largest decline in employment was again recorded in the construction sector, where the numbers fell by 30,100 (down 19.4 per cent) over the year. Employment in the sector has now dropped by 54 per cent since its peak in the second quarter of 2007.

The next largest annual decreases in employment were recorded in industry and the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors where the numbers employed fell by 18,200 (down 7 per cent) and 12,300 (down 12.7 oer cent).

Other CSO data today showed that, in April, the country had the highest level of net outward migration since 1989.

The CSO’s population and migration estimates for April showed that, in the previous 12 months, migration remained broadly constant at 65,300 but the number of immigrants coming into Ireland fell sharply, from 57,300 to 30,800.

Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed co-ordinator John Stewart said the figures underline the chronic state of unemployment in Ireland. He said the impact of long-term unemployment on people “can be catastrophic”.

Mr Stewart called on the Government to provide an integrated jobs strategy that gives unemployed people hope of the prospect of a decent job in the future.