Unemployment falls to 11.2% in August

The latest Live Register release from the CSO shows that the standardised unemployment rate improved to 11.2% (-10bps m/m) in August.

It is now back at its lowest level since March 2009 and 30bps inside the latest (July) unemployment rate for the Eurozone.

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The number of people signing on the Live Register fell by 2,900 m/m in August to 380,100. This is the 26th consecutive monthly decline, with the number of people on the Register now
68,800 or 15.3% below the peak of 448,900 in August 2011.

Elsewhere in the release we note that the problem of long-term unemployment remains acute. In August 47.1% of all those on the Register had been on it for more than one year, compared to 45.2% in August 2013. Tackling this remains a major priority for policymakers. In this regard, we note that the number of people availing of activation programmes targeted primarily at the long-term unemployed, at 64,170 in July, was up just 0.8% y/y.

Another challenge relates to providing sufficient opportunities for younger members of the labour force. While recently published Population and Migration Estimates show that net migration improved to -21,400 in the year to the end of April versus -33,100 in the year to end-April 2013,  total gross emigration in the 15-24 age group only fell by 4% y/y (to 33.5k) compared to a 8% y/y drop in gross emigration across all age groups (from 89.0k to 81.9k). Today’s Live Register release shows that the ratio of over-25s to under-25s on the Live Register has reached 5.79:1. It was 5.45:1 at the end of 2013, which indicates that many young people are still seeing better prospects for themselves beyond these shores.

All in all there is a familiar feel to this release. The recovery in the jobs market (total employment has increased for seven successive quarters) is playing a key role in bringing down Ireland’s unemployment rate, but the benefits have yet to be felt across all parts of the labour force.