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Live Register shows fall in long-term claimants, albeit overall number is still high

about 7 hours ago

Eoin Burke-Kennedy




The number of long-term claimants on the Live Register has fallen by 22,656 or 13.6 per cent in the past 12 months, figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) reveal.

However, they also show that those claiming benefits for more than a year still accounted for 45.5 per cent, equating to 143,832, of the total register in June, down from 46.7 per cent a year ago.

The numbers reveal two things: firstly the current spate of employment rich growth is reducing the incidence of long-term joblessness.

Though it should be noted that long-term claimants on the Live Register are not the same as long-term unemployed, as the former can work part-time while claiming benefits.

The second thing the figures reveal is that despite the reduction in long-term claimants, this cohort still accounts for a stubbornly high portion of the overall register.

The latest numbers for June also show there was a monthly increase in long-term claimants of 3,334, albeit this may be down to seasonal factors.

Long-term joblessness is perhaps one of the biggest risk factors in any post-crash economy. It lingered long after the economic crash of the late 1980s, even when the strong economic growth earned Ireland the moniker of Celtic tiger.

During the boom years, the long-term unemployment rate – the percentage of the total workforce out of work for more than a year as measured by the Quarterly National Household Survey – fell to a record low of 1.3 per cent.

However, when the economy was overwhelmed by the financial crisis after 2008, long-term joblessness rose sharply.

As unemployment peaked at just over 15.2 per cent in 2012, long-term unemployment reached its highest level of 9.5 per cent.

At the time, more than 200,000 people were classified as long-term claimants.

More than 30 per cent were former construction workers, victims of the property crash.

The latest Quarterly National Household Survey covering the first quarter of 2016 puts long-term unemployment back down at 4.7 per cent, a marked improvement on the heady days of 2012.