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Irish Live Register: The Central Statistics
Office (CSO) reported today that the unemployment rate rose to 14.8% in May
while 40% of claimants on the register have been signing-on more than one year.
Meanwhile, the Misery Index, combining both unemployment and inflation, has now
risen to its highest level since September 1992.
The standardised unemployment rate in May 2011 was 14.8%, up
slightly from a rate of 14.7% in April. The monthly increase in the standardised
unemployment rate was caused by an increase of 2,600 (+0.6%) in the seasonally
adjusted number of persons signing on the Live Register. The latest seasonally
adjusted unemployment rate from the Quarterly National Household Survey was
14.7% in the fourth quarter of 2010. The average unemployment rate during 2010
In May 2011 there were 440,947 people signing on the Live
Register representing an increase of 3,025 (+0.7%) over the year. This increase
is less than that recorded in April 2011(+6,914 or +1.6%) and far less than the
increase of 43,788 (+11.1%) seen in the year to May 2010. In the year to May
2009 the increase had been as high as 192,378 (+95.4%).
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.
In December 2010, the number of persons on the Live Register stood at 437,079
which represented an annual increase of 13,484 (+3.2%). The number of non-Irish
nationals fell by 874 in 2010 to 76,645.
Other features include:
On a seasonally adjusted
basis there were monthly increases of 2,200 males and 400 females on the
The number of female
claimants increased by 5,120 (+3.5%), to 152,657 over the year while the
number of male claimants decreased by 2,095 (-0.7%) to 288,290. This
compares with increases of 18,876 (+14.7%) and 24,912 (+9.4%) for females
and males respectively in the year to May 2010.
The number of casual and
part-time workers on the Live Register increased over the year by 6,058
(+7.7%) to 84,933. Casual and part-time workers in May accounted for 19.3%
of those on the Live Register, an increase from 12.1% three years earlier.
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 estimated number of
persons unemployed as of the fourth quarter of 2010 was 299,000.
Live Register schemes analysis
In May there were 112,107 Jobseekers Benefit (JB) claimants on
the Live Register, an annual decrease of 32,878 (-22.7%), while Jobseekers
Allowance (JA) claimants increased over the same period by 29,992 (+11.1%) to a
level of 299,633. As a result JA claimants now account for 68.0% of all persons
on the Live Register compared with 61.6% a year earlier.
In the year to May 2011 the number of persons aged 25 and over
on the Live Register increased by 7,677 (+2.2%), while the number of persons
aged under 25 fell by 4,652 (-5.4%). In both age groups JB claims fell while JA
Among persons aged under 25 the decrease in JB claimants
(-4,810) was far larger than the increase in JA claimants (+197), but for
persons aged 25 and over the increase in JA claimants (+29,795) over the year
more than offset the decrease in JB claimants (-28,068).
There was an increase of 5,911 (+25.4%) in ‘Other Registrants’
on the Live Register in the year to May 2011 bringing the total to 29,207. This
increase was entirely recorded among persons aged 25 and over (+5,950 or
There were 35,515 new registrants on the Live Register in May
2011, consisting of 15,582 JB claims, 18,497 JA claims and 1,436 ‘Other
Registrants’. Males accounted for 20,260 (57.0%) and females 15,255 (43.0%) of
all new registrants.
The CSO said that on average 5,065 male and 3,814 female new
registrants joined the Live Register each week of the month. The difference
between the number of new registrants on the Live Register and the increase in
the total number on the Live Register is accounted for by closed claims and
movements between schemes.
Live Register regional analysis
Annual increases in the Live Register were recorded in six of
the eight NUTS 3 regions, with decreases in the Mid-West (-1.0%) and South-West
regions (-0.7%). The largest percentage increase was in the Midland region
(+2.9%), followed by the South-East and Mid-East regions at 1.7% and 1.5%
Live Register occupational groups
Craft and related (25.4%) was the largest occupational group
on the Live Register in May, followed by Plant and machine operatives
(16.0%). While it remains the largest occupational group on the Live Register
the number in the Craft and related group actually fell over the year by
6,100 (-5.2%) to 112,062.
In the year to May 2011 four occupational groups showed Live
Register increases. The largest percentage increases were in the Other
occupation group (+7.0%), followed by the Personal and protective service
(+6.5%) and Sales (+5.4%) groups.
Live Register duration of continuous registration
In May 60.0% (264,613) of all claimants on the Live Register
were short term claimants. The comparable figure for May 2010 was 71.2%
(311,857). The annual fall of 47,244 (-15.1%) in the number of short term
claimants consisted of a decrease of 38,528 in the number of male short term
claimants and a decrease of 8,716 in female short term claimants.
In the year to May 2011 the number of long term male claimants
increased by 36,433 (+39.3%), while the comparable increase for females was
13,836 (+41.4%) giving an overall annual increase of 50,269 (+39.9%) in the
number of long term claimants.
Live Register casual and part-time workers
There were 84,933 casual and part-time workers on the Live
Register in May, which represents 19.3% of the total Live Register. This
compares with 18.0% one year earlier when there were 78,875 casual and part-time
workers on the Live Register.
In the year to May 2011 the number of casual and part-time
workers increased by 6,058 (+7.7%), with the number of males increasing by 3,469
(+8.3%) and the number of females increasing by 2,589 (+6.9%).
Live Register nationality groupings
In May Irish nationals accounted for 82.5% (363,969) of the
number of persons on the Live Register. Of the 76,978 non-Irish nationals, the
largest constituent group on the Live Register continued to be nationals from
the EU15 to EU27 States (41,791), followed by the UK (18,075).
In the year to May 2011 the number of Irish nationals on the
Live Register increased by 4,116 (+1.1%), while the number of non-Irish
nationals decreased by 1,091 (-1.4%).
Davy economist, Conall Mac Coille
Live Register numbers continue
Unemployment claimants continued
to increase in May, by 2,600 to 443,400 on a seasonally adjusted basis;
This constituted a 0.6% rise on
The CSO has revised up its
estimate of the unemployment rate to 14.8%.
Live Register has been poor
guide to employment growth
In Q4, the Live Register numbers
provided no indication of the sharp 0.9% fall in employment;
Today's Live Register numbers
suggest that labour market conditions remain weak;
The final Quarterly National
Household Survey number for Q2 could provide an even bleaker picture.
Consumers now being hit by
harsh combination of higher unemployment and rising inflation
The 'misery index', capturing
both unemployment and inflation, has now risen to its highest level since
September 1992 (Figure 1 at top of page).
In the early part of the
recession, falling CPI inflation helped to sustain real incomes.;
Rising CPI inflation, driven by
higher energy prices, is now adding to downward pressure on real incomes at
a time when households are clearly worried about employment prospects;
So Irish consumers are being
buffeted by three headwinds – the government's tax and spending plans,
higher inflation and rising unemployment.
Source: Ulster Bank
Ulster Bank economists, Simon
Barry and Lynsey Clemenger, commented:
Estimated jobless rate ticks
up to 14.8%, as the number of long-term claimants hits new downturn high…
Of some concern given the signs of renewed weakness in most other incoming Irish
data, the latest Live Register figures showed a rise in both benefit claimants
and the jobless rate in May. In terms of the former, the 2,600 monthly increase
was the largest since August of last year. This has had the effect of offsetting
some of the more encouraging monthly decreases earlier in the year, taking the
total on the Register back to its highest since December at 443,400.
As is well known at this stage, the Live Register measure of the unemployment
rate is not the official one. This comes from the Quarterly National Household
Survey, the latest of which shows an unemployment rate of 14.7% in Q4 of last
year. Having held steady at 14.7% in the first 4 months of the year, the May
Live Register estimate showed a nudge up in the jobless rate to 14.8%. This is
only just below the (upwardly revised) peak for the current cycle of 14.9% from
December last year, suggesting that the stabilisation of the unemployment rate
sub 15% still looks tentative. That is, even if the official numbers out at the
end of this month show a steady jobless rate in Q1, the latest figures suggest
further upward pressure on the rate in Q2.
In addition to the high levels of benefit claimants, a further problematic
feature of the Irish jobs market is the make-up of the pool of unemployed
workers. An increasingly large proportion of total claimants is being accounted
for by those who are long-term unemployed i.e. those who have been continuously
registered for benefits for over a year. The total falling into this category
has risen sharply over the downturn, as workers who have lost their jobs have
found it extremely difficult to regain employment. In May, the numbers who have
been on the register for over a year hit a new recession high of over 176,300
following a 6,900 increase on the April level. The number of such individuals
has now doubled since October 2009, as the share of long-term claimants in the
total has gone from 21.2% at that time to 40% in May of this year. While labour
market activation measures targeting the long-term unemployed were a feature of
the Government’s recent Jobs Initiative, today’s numbers highlight the extent of
the problem in this area.
Overall, today’s Live Register numbers paint a picture of what is still an
extremely weak Irish labour market. The estimates contained in today’s report
suggest a higher peak jobless rate of 14.9% at the end of last year. While there
has been a slight decline since then, a trend improvement is proving elusive, a
point highlighted by the uptick in the estimated unemployment rate in May to
14.8% from 14.7% in the first four months of the year. The modest deterioration
last month is consistent with this morning’s manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s
Index (PMI) for May where the employment index slipped back to below 50
indicating a decline in staffing levels, following signs in prior months that
manufacturers were beginning to expand their employment levels. The combination
of these two signals highlights that labour market dynamics continue to
represent an important downside risk in the Irish economic outlook at present –
one that bears close watching in terms of its potential implications for overall
economic growth as well as for the Exchequer revenue position.