Seven of top 10 jobless blackspots in Limerick


SEVEN OF the State’s top 10 unemployment blackspots are in Limerick city with joblessness reaching almost 57 per cent in one area, latest figures from the April 2011 census indicate.

Unemployment in the Republic has risen by 137 per cent in the five years since the 2006 census.

Men account for 68 per cent of the additional unemployed people, according to the report by the Central Statistics Office, which was released yesterday.

The biggest job losses occurred in the male-dominated construction sector where there was a 55 per cent decline in workers: more than 120,000.

Education had the largest increase in workers, up by more than 25 per cent. This marked an increase of 36,000 workers, nine in 10 of whom were women.

Almost four out of five jobs in the State is in the female-dominated services sector. This is a significant shift from 50 years ago when it was two in five jobs.

The second-largest increase in employment was in public administration, which increased by more than 12 per cent – representing more than 12,000 workers.

The second-steepest decline was in manufacturing, which shed some 50,000 workers.

Cities dominated the 81 blackspots that had unemployment at more than 35 per cent. Cork city had nine such electoral areas, Dublin city had eight, Waterford city had seven and south Dublin had four. However, Donegal was high on the list, with nine blackspots.

Co Offaly experienced the biggest increase in unemployment where the rate tripled from 8.5 per cent in 2006 to 23 per cent in 2011.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown in Co Dublin had the lowest unemployment rate at 11.2 per cent and the lowest increase in unemployment. It also had the highest proportion of people with managerial or professional occupations, almost 55 per cent, and the lowest proportion of unskilled workers.

South Tipperary had the highest percentage of workers classified as unskilled – 5 per cent – while Limerick city had the lowest percentage of managerial or professional workers at 23.5 per cent.

Cork city had the lowest labour market participation rate at 54 per cent, followed by Limerick city (55 per cent) and Donegal (58 per cent). Counties with the lowest rates were the same as in 2006. This rate is the percentage of people aged over 15 who participate in the labour force (employed or looking for a job) as opposed to being retired, a homemaker, a student etc.

The highest labour force participation rates are counties around Dublin city. Fingal has the highest (68 per cent) followed by Meath and Kildare both (66 per cent). These rates closely align with the age profile of the counties.

Almost 90 per cent of the labour force increase since the last census comprised women and it has grown by 6 per cent (122,705) in the past five years.

While the percentage of men working or available for work fell, the percentage of women rose. The female labour market participation rate was 55 per cent and at almost 70 per cent for males. Married women accounted for 60 per cent of labour-force growth.

Those aged 15-24 accounted for the sharpest decline in workforce participation, which is explained by rises in education rates. However, younger workers were worse hit by the downturn than older workers, with a significant rise in the gap in unemployment rates since 2006.

Among men aged 20-24 there is an unemployment rate of 41 per cent compared with 19 per cent for men aged 45-54 and a similar gap among women.

The number of retired people rose by just over a fifth (21 per cent) in the past five years, with the increase of women at work since 1981 contributing to this.

The census was taken in April last year surveying two million dwellings.