Numbers on Live Register highest in 10 years


UNEMPLOYMENT HAS increased to its highest rate since November 1998, with the number of people claiming unemployment benefits now almost 80,000 higher than it was this time last year.

The estimated rate of unemployment increased to 6.3 per cent in September, up from 6.1 per cent in August, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The number of people on the Live Register of jobseekers' benefit claimants fell by just 7,000 in September, a month in which the number of claimants usually falls sharply as the schools re-open. When the number is seasonally adjusted, there was an increase of 9,400 in the number of claimants.

In the year to September, some 79,565 people joined the Live Register, taking the total number of claimants to 240,217, up 49.5 per cent. The Opposition contrasted what they said was the Government's lack of initiative in tackling the worsening jobs market with its intervention in the banking sector.

"The Government took action to address the liquidity problem faced by six profitable banks. Surely the 240,000 people on the Live Register are entitled to some decisive action from the Government to address their plight," Labour Party employment spokesman Willie Penrose said.

Fine Gael employment spokesman Leo Varadkar said the Dáil was debating legislation to protect banks "who have engaged in risky lending practices for years", while "we are witnessing the human consequences of recession: unemployment".

Separate figures published yesterday by the Department of Employment show 4,003 people were made redundant under the statutory redundancy scheme last month.