Irish Economy
Irish Live Register + 90,000 activation scheme numbers at 439,000 in April
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Apr 29, 2015 - 12:38 PM

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The number on the Live Register plus public activation scheme numbers was unchanged in April from March 2015 - a fall in the Live Register numbers was offset by a rise in the activation numbers by 2,000 (the activation data is one month behind).

The broad jobless rate was 20% — Finfacts has two ways of arriving at the Irish broad rate a) as above, adding LR and activation schemes figures 2) using the standardised rate as detailed below and adding both the number of part-timers looking for full-time work and activation numbers. Using the latter calculation last week based on Quarterly National Household Survey data for the end of December 2014, we calculated a rate of 19%.

The standardised unemployment rate (SUR) in April 2015 was 10.0%, showing no change from March 2015. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate from the most recent Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) was 10.4% in the fourth quarter of 2014.

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On a seasonally adjusted basis the Live Register total recorded a monthly decrease of 1,800 (-0.5%) in April 2015, reducing the seasonally adjusted total to 349,500. In unadjusted terms there were 343,551 people signing on the Live Register in April 2015.  This represents an annual decrease of 45,008 (-11.6%).

Other features include:

  • On a seasonally adjusted basis the Live Register showed a monthly decrease of 1,700 (-0.8%) males in April 2015, while females decreased by 100 (-0.1%) over the same period.
  • The number of male claimants decreased by 31,237 (-13.0%) to 208,304 in the year to April 2015, while female claimants decreased by 13,771 (-9.2%) to 135,247.  This compares with a decrease of 25,476 (-9.6%) to 239,541 for males while female claimants decreased by 3,558 (-2.3%) to 149,018 in the year to April 2014.

The number of long term claimants on the Live Register in April 2015 was 158,488. The number of male long term claimants decreased by 18,075 (-14.9%) in the year to April 2015, while females decreased by 1,662 (-2.9%), giving an overall annual decrease of 19,737 (-11.1%) in the number of long term claimants.

In April 2015, 53.9% (185,063) of all claimants on the Live Register were short term claimants.  The comparable figure for April 2014 was 54.1% (210,334). The annual fall of 25,271 (-12.0%) in the number of short term claimants consisted of a decrease of 13,162 (-11.1%) in the number of male short term claimants and a decrease of 12,109 (-13.1%) in female short term claimants.

Live Register casual and part-time workers: There were 70,181 casual and part-time workers on the Live Register in April 2015, which represents 20.4% of the total Live Register.  This compares with 20.2% one year earlier when there were 78,365 casual and part-time workers on the Live Register.  In the year to April 2015 the number of casual and part-time workers decreased by 8,184 (-10.4%), with the number of males decreasing by 4,806 (-11.4%) and the number of females decreasing by 3,378 (-9.3%).

Conall Mac Coille, chief economist at Davy, commented: Today’s Live Register data show that the unemployment rate was 10.0% in April, unchanged from March (Figure 1). This is slightly disappointing. The monthly unemployment rate has declined in all but two months since the beginning of 2013. So we had expected a fall into single-digit territory in April. Recent PMI surveys for manufacturing and services have indicated that companies are adding jobs at close to the fastest pace on record. A fall in the unemployment rate below 10% therefore still looks likely to occur in the coming months.

When it finally occurs, the fall in the unemployment rate into single-digit territory will be an eye-catching moment in Ireland’s recovery. Total numbers on the Live Register continued to decline in April, falling below 350,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis for the first time to 349,500 (Figure 2). This is the lowest number of claimants since February 2009, but the decline in April was not sufficient to push the unemployment rate below 10%.

However, the monthly figures are based on Live Register social welfare claimants. When the QNHS survey for Q1 2015 is published, incorporating official estimates of labour force and employment growth, the unemployment rate may be significantly revised, potentially below 10%.

Today’s flat unemployment rate in April is slightly disappointing but follows on from the news yesterday that retail sales grew by 9.2% in the year to March 2015 and with property prices stabilising, up 0.9% on the month. Overall, recent short-term indicators on the pace of growth in the Irish economy have been extremely strong."

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