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News : Irish Economy Last Updated: Jan 12, 2015 - 5:05 AM

Irish Live Register + activation scheme numbers at 450,100 in December - 21% of workforce
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Jan 7, 2015 - 11:35 AM

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Irish Live Register numbers in December of 363,900 plus 86,200 in public funded activation schemes (using the November total of 86,200; December 2013 was also at 86,200) amounted to 450,100 - 21% of the total workforce.

The CSO said Wednesday that the standardised unemployment rate (SUR) in December 2014 was 10.6%, down from 10.7% in November 2014. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate from the most recent Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) was 11.1% in the third quarter of 2014. The annual average SUR for 2014 was 11.3% down from 13.1% in 2013.

On a seasonally adjusted basis the Live Register total recorded a monthly decrease of 3,300 (-0.9%) in December 2014, reducing the seasonally adjusted total to 363,900.

In unadjusted terms there were 356,112 people signing on the Live Register in December 2014. This represents an annual decrease of 39,299 (-9.9%).

Facts do not always change minds - can even entrench misinformed - including detail on the broad rate of unemployment.

Other features include: On a seasonally adjusted basis the Live Register showed a monthly decrease of 2,500 (-1.1%) males in December 2014, while females decreased by 900 (-0.6%) over the same period.

The number of male claimants decreased by 29,382 (-12.0%) to 216,339 in the year to December 2014, while female claimants decreased by 9,917 (-6.6%) to 139,773. This compares with a decrease of 24,165 (-9.0%) to 245,721 for males, while female claimants showed a decrease of 4,157 (-2.7%) to 149,690 in the year to December 2013.

The CSO says that 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 Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB) or Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA). Unemployment is measured by the Quarterly National Household Survey and the latest estimated number of persons unemployed as of the third quarter of 2014 was 245,500.

The number of long term claimants on the Live Register for a year or more on December 2014 was 164,796.  The number of male long term claimants decreased by 14,975 (-12.1%) in the year to December 2014, while females increased by 150 (+0.3%), giving an overall annual decrease of 14,825 (-8.3%) in the number of long term claimants.

David McNamara, economist at Davy, commented: "Former craft and related workers remain the largest occupational group on the Live Register, comprising 19.9% of the total. However, this group has fallen by 12,977 (-15.5%) on the year. Similarly, the plant and machine operatives group was down 6,988 (-10.7%), also related to the construction sector. The sales occupation group was down 4,613 (-11%), helped by the recovery in the retail sector.

Nonetheless, while the data are largely positive, many of those remaining on the Live Register are often long-term unemployed. 164,796, or 46%, of the claimants on the Live Register have been out of work for at least a year. Over half of the long-term unemployed have been out of work for over three years, illustrating the risks of higher structural unemployment in the long term.

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