Belfast Telegraph

Female jobless figure increases

The number of women out of work for more than a year has soared by a fifth.

Official figures show the unemployment rate remained at 14.2% in February, with 439,422 people claiming benefits.

The Live Register revealed the overall number of people signing on dropped by 4,877 (1.1%) over the last year.

But while the number of male claimants dropped by 8,356 (2.9%) to 283,450, the amount of women on benefits rose by 3,479 (2.3%) to 155,972.

The number of women on the dole for more than 12 months also rose by 8,199 (19%), while the amount of men went up by 12,531 (10.4%).

ISME, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association, demanded the Government take immediate action on the jobs front.

Mark Fielding, chief executive, said a slight drop in numbers signing on masks the true level of unemployment which is under-reported through increased emigration and increased participation in training initiatives and college courses.

"The true picture in the jobs market is that well over half a million of our citizens are out of work," he said.

"The recent Action Plan for Jobs sets out a broad strategy and now needs to be actioned with real initiatives, however business will not be in a position to create jobs unless the cost base is reduced.

"There has to be a parallel concerted effort to reduce the overall cost of doing business in Ireland."

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