Men accountable for claimant drop
Men are accountable for a drop in the number of people on the dole last month, new statistics reveal.
Latest figures show 426,100 claimants signed on for unemployment and job-seeking benefits during May. That was 700 less than the previous month and 11,170 fewer than the same time last year, according to the seasonally adjusted statistics.
But there was no reduction in the number of women signing on the live register last month.
On a yearly basis, there were nearly 12,000 fewer men claiming benefits since May 2012 and just a slight drop - of 672 - in women on the dole.
The live register figures, compiled by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), includes unemployed, some part-time workers as well as seasonal and casual workers entitled to job-seeking benefits. The overall unemployment rate remains at nearly 14% of the country's workforce.
Isme, which represents small and medium-sized businesses, said the slight decrease in numbers signing on masked the true scale of unemployment in Ireland.
Mark Fielding, chief executive of Isme, said emigration as well as people returning to education or job schemes had to be taken into account when looking at the dole figures. He said: "The true picture is that well over half-a-million of our citizens are out of work."
Mr Fielding called on the Government to bring in more incentives for smaller businesses to take on more workers.
He said: "Government must realise that it has to act as a catalyst for job creation, allowing business to increase productivity. The potential within the small and medium-sized enterprise sector will not be released while costs are too high, finance too scarce and petty regulations too restrictive."