Number on live register falls for eighth month in a row
on 28/02/2013 00:00:00
According to the latest Central Statistics Office figures, the live register for February was 428,876. That compared with 439,422 in February 2012 and 429,396 last month.
The CSO's published unemployment rate has declined significantly since February 2012 - at that point it stood at 15%.
"A marginal improvement in jobs market conditions, a continuing drop in the participation rate as workers either retired or moved into further education as well as ongoing emigration all combined to drive the decline in Ireland's unemployment rate down through 2012 from 15.0% in the first quarter to 14.2% in the final three months of the year and to 14.1% in early 2013 on the basis of today's live register data," said Austin Hughes, chief economist with KBC Bank.
His fellow economist, Alan McQuaid, of Merrion Stockbrokers, also sounded a note of caution.
"Worryingly, the number of long-term claimants on the live register in February was 189,467, only marginally down from 189,857 in January," he said. "The reality is that the level of long-term claimants is far too high for comfort and something that Ireland's 'troika' creditors of the European Commission, ECB and IMF have consistently highlighted needs to be tackled."
The CSO also published its labour market survey, the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS). That showed that the numbers employed increased during 2012. The figure was up 0.1% or 1,200 in the 12 months, bringing the total to 1,848,900.
The CSO said this was the first annual increase in employment since the second quarter of 2008.
Mr McQuaid said as things currently stand, the labour market is still very weak despite the fall in recent months in the live register.
"However, there are some grounds for optimism going forward. Exporting companies recorded a net jobs gain of 3,804 last year, the highest such increase since 2006, according to Enterprise Ireland. But, creating job opportunities in the domestic side of the economy remains the key challenge for policymakers."