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News : Irish Economy Last Updated: Sep 2, 2010 - 8:23:38 AM

Irish Live Register total increased to 455,000 in August - - new all-time record for third straight month
By Finfacts Team
Sep 1, 2010 - 11:17:03 AM

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Source: CSO

The Irish Live Register total increased from 452,500 in July to 455,000 in August, an increase of 2,500 and a new all-time record for the third straight month.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said today that in the year to August 2010 there was an unadjusted increase in the Live Register of 30,198 (+6.9%). This compares with an increase of 34,403 (+8.0%) in the year to July 2010.

January of 2009 represented the spike in claimant increases in any month, with a record 33,000, or 11.3%, rise - - 26,700 additions in February, 20,000 in March; 15,800 in April; 13,500 in May; 11,400 in June; 10,500 in July; 5,400 in August and 600 in September. The total fell 3,000 in October; rose 900 in November and another 3,300 were added in December, to bring the end 2009 total to 426,700. The total fell by 500 in April 2010 and rose to a record 439,100 in May. June saw 5,800 added, to a then new all-time record in June: 444,900. 8,500 further claimants were added in July to bring the total to a massive 452,500.

In July, 83% are Irish and citizens from non-EU countries on the Live Register is over 14,000. The biggest number of people on the Register from outside the EU are from Nigeria (approximately 3,000) followed by the US (approximately 700) and the Congo with over 600.

Other features include:

There was an increase of 700 males and 1,900 females in the seasonally adjusted series in August.

The average net weekly increase in the seasonally adjusted series in August 2010 was 625, which compares with a weekly increase of 1,700 in the previous month.

The standardised unemployment rate in August was 13.8%. This compares with 12.9% in the first quarter of 2010, the latest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate from the Quarterly National Household Survey. .

The CSO says the Live Register is not designed to measure unemployment. It includes part-time workers (those who work up to three days a week), seasonal and casual workers entitled to Jobseekers Benefit or Allowance. Unemployment is measured by the Quarterly National Household Survey and the latest seasonally adjusted figure, for January to March 2010, is 277,400 persons unemployed.

Live Register schemes analysis

The CSO said in August there were 144,840 Jobseekers Benefit (JB) claimants on the Live Register, a monthly decrease of 4,888 (-3.3%). Jobseekers Allowance (JA) applications increased by 4,413 (+1.5%) to 296,007 in the month, while other registrants increased by 574 (+2.3%) to 26,076.

In the year to August 2010 JB claims fell by 48,631 (-25.1%), while JA applications and other registrants both increased by 69,420 (+30.6%) and 9,409 (+56.5%) respectively.

In August there were 36,194 new registrants on the Live Register, which compares with 60,187 in the previous month. New registrants consisted of 15,759 JB claims (43.5%), 18,815 JA applications (52.0%) and 1,620 other registrants (4.5%). The CSO said it should be noted that the number of new registrants is not the same as the overall change in the number of people on the Live Register which is also affected by closed claims and the movement of people between schemes.

On average 9,049 new registrants joined the Live Register each week in August, comprising 5,310 males (58.7%) and 3,739 (41.3%) females. In comparison in February 2010 11,814 new registrants joined the Live Register each week, consisting of 7,228 males (61.2%) and 4,586 (38.8%) females.

Live Register regional analysis

There was an unadjusted monthly increase of 99 (+0.0%) on the Live Register in August. This increase was reflected in five of the eight regions, with the largest percentage increase in the Mid-West region (+0.6%). The South-West region showed the largest percentage decrease (-0.5%).

The unadjusted annual increase of 6.9% on the Live Register in the year to August 2010 was reflected in all of the eight regions. The largest percentage increase was in the South-East region (+8.7%), followed by the Midland region (+7.8%). The smallest percentage increase was recorded in the West region (+4.4%).

Live Register occupational groups

Craft and related (25.5%) was the largest occupational group on the Live Register in August, followed by Plant and machine operatives (15.4%) and Personal and protection service and Clerical and secretarial (both 10.7%). In February 2010 Craft and related (27.2%) was also the largest occupational group.

Six of the nine occupational groups showed monthly Live Register increases in August. The largest percentage increase was in the Professional group (+1.2%), while the Clerical and secretarial group showed the largest percentages decrease (-0.8%).

In the six months to August 2010 all occupational groups, other than the Craft and related occupational group, showed Live Register increases with the largest percentage increase in Professional (+26.8%), while the next largest increases were in Clerical and secretarial (+14.6%) and Sales (+ 11.9%). The smallest percentage increase was in the Managers and administrators group (+1.0%). The Craft and related occupational group showed a decrease of -0.1%.

There were increases in six of the nine occupational groups in the six months to August for males on the Live Register. The largest percentage increase was in the Associate, professional and technical group (+12.0%), with the largest decreases in the Managers and administrators and Personal and protective service groups (both -0.8%). For females there were increases in all occupational groups in the six months to August 2010. The largest percentage increase was in the Professional group (+43.3%) followed by the Other occupation group (+25.8%).

Source: Davy

Davy economist, Aidan Corcoran, commented:

Knock-on effects from construction sector layoffs persist in August Live Register figures

  • Another increase in seasonally adjusted Live Register figures brings the estimated unemployment rate to 13.8%. This may be revised down somewhat if the labour force is found to have shrunk.
  • Seasonally adjusted, 2,500 people joined the Live Register in August. This brings the total to 455,000.
  • The high figure for females joining the Live Register (1,900 this month) suggests that the increase may be largely due to knock-on effects from layoffs in the construction sector and from reduced public expenditure.

Employment data lag the cycle

  • As the labour market usually lags the business cycle, it is still too soon to expect much progress on this figure.

Lynsey Clemenger, economist, Republic of Ireland  Ulster Bank Capital Markets, commented:

…with renewed weakness in the labour market situation in recent months playing a big role

Numbers on the jobs market today help shed light on the more negative dynamic in recent trends on retail sales. The QNHS (Quarterly National Household Survey) measure of the unemployment rate is the official one, which was at 12.9% on the latest Q1 numbers. The more timely Live Register (LR) estimate of the unemployment rate is generally a reasonably good guide, albeit that it did significantly overstate the official rate in Q1. This measure is based on unemployment benefit claimants. While the 24,700 rise in claimants in the first eight months of this year represents a dramatic turnaround from the 128,400 increase in the same period last year, a notable moderation in the numbers signing on over the Feb-Apr period has given way to renewed weakness in recent months. While seasonal adjustment factors around summer time may have played some role, the trajectory here has been moving in the wrong direction lately.

On the latest August numbers, there was a further 2,500 rise in the seasonally adjusted numbers on the LR. This translated into a modest uptick in the unemployment rate estimate to 13.8%, from 13.7% in July. Together with the employment index of the manufacturing PMI, the LR data point to clear upward pressure on the official unemployment rate since Q1. While our base case is still for a peak of between 13.5 and 14% by the end of the year on the QNHS numbers, these latest numbers suggest that it is too soon to rule out an outturn at the upper end of this range.

Labour market data will warrant close attention in coming months, in the context of the trajectory of consumer spending going forward

Today’s numbers are disappointing on a number of fronts. The retail sales data have clearly shown some renewed weakness in recent months. A large part of this likely has its origins in the renewed weakness in the labour market of late, in the sense that this has made it hard to sustain the improvement in consumer spending seen earlier in the year. In our recent forecast update we refrained from factoring in any recovery in consumer spending in average annual terms this year, given that we expect consumers will remain cautious and savings will remain elevated. While we have no insight into services spending since Q1, the recent loss of momentum in the retail sales data means the risks surrounding our forecast for a 0.1% annual average decline in consumer spending this year are skewed modestly to the downside at this stage.

Éamon Ó Cuív TD, Minister for Social Protection has said that while the "rate of increase in the Live Register has moderated in August the level of unemployment is still a matter of huge concern," for the Government.

"This increase in the Live Register during the summer will be reversed this autumn. It is worth noting that within the register are almost 64,000 people who are employed either casually or part time. We want to improve our economy to help as many of those people as possible get back to a 5-day week and off the register."

Commenting on the figures, IBEC economist Reetta Suonperä said: "The monthly increase of 2,500 is the lowest since April, but nonetheless remains unacceptably high. The signs that the labour market weakness has spread beyond the construction sector are worrying. Women accounted for 1,900 of the monthly increase and professional occupations have recorded the largest increases both on a monthly and six-monthly basis.

“The trend in the outflow of claimants is weaker than in the early part of the year, indicating that job creation remains sluggish.

“It is clear that we need decisive Government intervention to prevent current high levels of unemployment from escalating to a permanent structural problem, akin to that experienced in the 1980s. Measures to help sustain vulnerable enterprises and jobs are required. Labour market programmes need to be close to the market, so as to be a meaningful transition back into paid employment once the economy recovers,”
concluded Suonperä.


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