Belfast Telegraph

Emigration leads to unemployment drop in Republic

By Aideen Sheenan

Emigration and education appear to be behind a fall in unemployment in the Republic.

The numbers signing on have dipped by 2,295 in the year to 434,784, with a marked 8% drop in youth unemployment, new Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures reveal.

However the Irish Government was accused of a "hopeless and harmful" reliance on emigration instead of real policies to tackle joblessness.

Although unemployment rose marginally amongst people aged over 25, it fell by 8.5% amongst those aged under 25 during 2011.

Unemployment also fell faster amongst men and in the west of the country, which is believed to be worse hit by emigration.

Overall, the Republic's unemployment rate is now 14.3%, compared to Northern Ireland's 6.9% tally for August to October last year.

It's estimated that around 70,000 Irish people have emigrated to the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US and Germany in the last year, the majority of whom were in their twenties.

Alan McQuaid of Bloxhams Stockbrokers said the overall improved Live Register figures are not down to better employment conditions at home.

He said it was clear emigration was continuing to play a big part in removing people from the Live Register.

The CSO Live Register figures show a marginal 0.1% drop in the unemployment rate to 14.3%, down from a high of 14.8% a year ago.

Seasonally adjusted there were 3,300 fewer people signing on in December than the previous month.

Long-term unemployment has increased by 16%, with almost 181,000 people out of work for more than a year. However the number of short-term claimants fell from 282,000 to 254,000.

More than 83,000 extra people have joined the ranks of the long-term unemployed in the past two years.

Some analysts noted the grim tally was an improvement on the situation a year ago when long-term unemployment was growing by a massive 56% a year.

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) demanded immediate jobs policies to tackle the horrendous unemployment figures.

"Targeting unemployment requires more than PR generated lip service, a couple of training schemes and the 'hopeless and harmful' reliance on emigration to somehow weather the storm," said ISME chief executive Mark Fielding.

The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU) warned that research showed the longer someone was unemployed, the harder it was to get back to work, making it vital they be given some hope of paid employment.

14.3%

Unemployment rate in the Republic, compared to the 6.9% total in Northern Ireland

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