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.

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.