March Unemployment Figures

The standardised unemployment rate for March was 13.4 percent (release here) having been revised up in previous month’s due to last week’s QNHS release. The Live Register based unemployment rate was flat over the first quarter but there are questions now about whether this reflects tightening of benefit coverage rather than underlying labour market conditions.

9 replies on “March Unemployment Figures”

Ok…aside from tightning up on fraudulent claims etc…how many people are on community employment schemes, back to education schemes, disability alllowances, disability benefit, etc? Plus, how many people who have fallen off the JB register cant access JA due to their spouses income (i.e. the vast majority want work so they are unemployed)? What have been the recent movements in these areas? how many have emigrated?

Could we have flat live register/unemployment figures in 2010 while the active labour market is simultaneously going down like a lead balloon?

I monitor the unemployment situation closely. Lots of people being ‘taken off benefits’ I can assure you (one way or another). The real figure for the number of people out of work is much higher than people think. It’s causing a lot of distress out there. I still think that mortgages impaired (currently running around 3%) is going to go north of 5%. Another can of worms.

Cillian makes a good point about jobseekers benefit running out, in this era of double income households. The reduction in duration from 15 months to 12 was one of the more sneaky cuts, for those who suffered have already paid their insurance premium in the form of PRSI, only to have the terms of the policy unilaterally changed just when they need to claim on it.


Where are all the Irish Labour Economists? Not on this blog apparently – where are they?

We don’t know for sure what has been happening, and we won’t know until the Q1 QNHS comes out in about 3 months time. However, it’s not implausible that the unemployment rate *may* actually have stopped rising for the moment.

Net outward migration has been picking up among lower age cohorts, and net inward migration has been slowing down among upper age cohorts. Labour force participation has been dropping.

The underlying factors driving total employment down have arguably been moderating. Employment in “industry” was dropping at about 10k per quarter, but in Q4 2009 it actually rose marginally. There is a good chance that rate at which employment in construction is falling is now slowing down, having reached 7% of all employment in Q4 2009. Drawing parallels with the 1980s, my guess would be that it will bottom out at around 5% to 6% of all employment.

Put all those factors together, and it would not be surprising if they netted out at a flat trend in the unemployment rate. That’s comment, not prediction.

Con, The QNHS figures provide a reasonable pointer, however it is a pity that some other State agencies such as Revenue & Dept. of SFA are not publishing their stats on a much more frequent basis.

For example, why cannot we have a monthly analysis of movements in the live register? It appears as mentioned above, very few who are moving off the register are returning to employment, rather they are dropping off the count because their spouse/partner is in employment or they live at home with mammy.

The Revenue prepares total stats annually on numbers in employment and also would have details on the numbers of P45s issued, new employments registered and I am sure could issue the figures monthly.

I am involved with preparation of information for the CSO from time to time and I would suggest that their resources have been slashed. I am also a user of information from the QNHS and would question its accuracy, however it does give you the trend.

Comments are closed.