Unemployment rate up to 14.4%


Ireland’s unemployment rate increased last month, reversing a slight dip in the jobless numbers recorded in September.

Figures released by the Central Statistics Office show that the standardised jobless rate increased from 14.3 per cent in September to 14.4 per cent in October.

October’s seasonally adjusted figures showed an increase of 2,700 in the numbers in receipt of jobless benefits on a month earlier. That brought the total number of people signing on to 447,100.

In unadjusted terms there were 430,432 people signing on the Live Register, a monthly fall of more than 7,000.

The CSO said that the over the last 12 months the seasonally adjusted register has remained in the range of 441,300 to 448,700, indicating that while fluctuations are occurring between months, the underlying trend has been relatively flat.

Among those signing on were 99,013 Jobseeker’s Benefit claimants, an annual decrease of 23,703, while Jobseeker’s Allowance rose by 20,269 to 301,333. The number of claimants aged 25 and over jumped by 6,092 in the last 12 months, while those under 25 fell by 5,213.

Responding to the figures, Fianna Fáil spokesman on jobs Willie O'Dea said it was clear that the Government jobs plan was not working.

"VAT was down again in October this time by €83 million while income tax is now €125 million below target according to the Exchequer figures released yesterday," he said. "There is a very troubling picture emerging where the Government has raided the private pension funds to the tune €460 million to pay for a job plan that’s having no impact."

In a statement, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Isme), called on the Government to use the upcoming Budget and the four year plan to address the 'desperate' unemployment situation.

"The high level of joblessness and the continuing threat of unemployment are among the biggest issues adversely affecting the Irish economy, but little has been done at official level to address this ongoing crisis,” said chief executive Mark Fielding.

"In addition to an all-out attack on costs, we need a clear and targeted policy on employment maintenance, job creation and social welfare to move individuals from the dole queue back into employment,” he said.

“This policy will only succeed when targeted at the labour creating SME sector. The upcoming Budget and four year budget strategy therefore needs to address overall costs to business, to include labour, the tax wedge and replacement ratio."

Chambers Ireland also called on the Government to act on joblessness.

"The Government has the opportunity to provide real supports and incentives for employers to create and retain jobs in Budget 2012,” said chief executive Ian Talbot. “Fast-tracking the labour market reforms outlined by Minister Bruton during the summer is also essential to help prevent further unemployment and ultimately create favourable conditions for job creation in impacted sectors.”