Figures show fewer people signing on in December

Seasonally-adjusted figures have shown a small decrease in the number of people signing on the Live Register in December.

The Central Statistics Office, recorded a monthly decrease of 1,400 in December 2012, bringing the seasonally adjusted total to 430,900.

The number of long-term claimants on the Live Register showed an overall annual increase of 6,346 (+3.5%) however, including 1,089 males (+0.8%) and 5,257 females (+10.6%).

The standardised unemployment rate in December 2012 was unchanged from November at 14.6%.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate from the most recent Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) was 14.8% in the third quarter of 2012.

The annual average standardised unemployment rate for 2012 was 14.8%, compared with 14.6% in 2011.

In unadjusted terms, 423,733 people signed on the Live Register in December 2012, an annual decrease of 11,051 (-2.5%). Annual decreases were recorded in all months of 2012.

The Live Register showed a monthly decrease of 1,800 males in December 2012, while females increased by 400 over the same period, both on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The number of male claimants decreased by 9,837 (-3.5%) to 269,886 over the year and female claimants decreased by 1,214 (-0.8%) to 153,847.

There were 88,069 casual and part-time workers on the Live Register in December 2012, which represents 20.8% of the total Live Register. This compares with 20% one year earlier.

Chambers Ireland said the figures were proof the country was slowly, but steadily on the road to recovery.

Chief executive Ian Talbot said an increase in tax receipts, a boost in retail sales and Ireland’s success in meeting its Troika targets were all confirmation it was on the right track.

“This week’s news has been positive but must still be seen in the context of the continued enormous current account deficit of over a billion euro a month,” Mr Talbot added.

“We cannot afford to ease up on the continued public sector reform program needed to get the country back on its feet permanently,” he concluded.

Trade union Siptu however warned that while the statistics were to be welcomed, they hid the impact of emigration.

Economist for the organisation Marie Sherlock said an exodus of around 8,000 craft workers from the Live Register accounted for almost three-quarters of the fall in numbers signing on during 2012.

She said many of those had presumably left the country.

Ms Sherlock added that two out of three people who came off the register were aged under 25, suggesting many of them went on to back-to-education schemes.

“The real test will be to retain these workers at decent rates of pay and conditions,” she said.

“During 2013 the challenge for the Government will be to tackle the major issue of long-term unemployment. The number signing on for 12 months or more has receded from the 200,000 mark recorded in July and August of 2012 but the share remains at a very substantial level of 44% of the Live Register.”

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