Two pieces of moderately good economic news. The Live Register declined by 6,600 on a seasonally adjusted basis in October and the standardised unemployment rate fell by a tenth of a percent to 13.6%. Also the October exchequer returns show that tax receipts, which had been falling behind target for a while earlier this year, are now slightly above target. Overall, the non-banking component of the deficit for 2010 appears set to not be too far off the target set last December.
Liam Delaney draws on the policy evalutation literature to offer an agenda for the reform of training and education policies (article here). Among the topics: the nature of required traning; the graduate unemployment problem; the importance of early childhood and lifelong learning; and the scarring effects of unemployment.
The Irish Times begins a week-long series today on Ireland’s jobs crisis. First up is a wide-ranging article by John Martin, Director for Employment, Labour and Social Policies at the OECD. The other contributors will be Philip O’Connell (ALMPs), Liam Delaney (training polices), Brian Nolan (welfare system-employment interactions), with a concluding article on Friday by Dan O’Brien. There is also an editorial today that criticises the government’s lack of attention to employment-related policies.
High unemployment levels are causing growing hardship to families and individuals, requiring extensive State borrowing to fund social welfare payments and causing long-term damage to the very fabric of society. In these circumstances, schemes for retraining and job creation should top the political agenda.
But the Government appears transfixed by the banking crisis and the need to reassure bond markets.
This blog has also come in for (mostly justified) criticism in giving too little attention to the unemployment problem. A partial defence is that effectively dealing with the banking and fiscal crises is very much part of the policy response to the recession to limit its human cost. Hopefully, the series will spur debate on more direct policies to limit the rise in unemployment.
The September Live Register figures show a decline of 5,400 on a seasonally adjusted basis. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined from 13.8 percent in August to 13.7 percent in September. The average unemployment rate for the third quarter was 13.73 percent compared with 13.2 percent in the second quarter.
Employment is still falling, though at a slower pace than previously. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the second quarter is 13.2 percent, which is the same as the average for these months that has been estimated by the Live Register figures over those months, so there will be no great revision to those figures (which last showed a standardised unemployment rate of 13.8% in August.) The decline in the participation rate seems to be easing, with the seasonally adjusted rate falling from 61.2 percent in 2010:Q1 to 61.1 percent in 2010:Q2.