Bleak outlook for 2003 as annual unemployment increases by 11,500

20 Feb 2003

The Quarterly National Household Survey released today, reveal that there was a modest increase of 1.4% in employment in 2002. However, there were 84,000 persons unemployed in the last quarter of 2002 which is a slight decrease of 2,600 in the quarter but an increase of 11,500 in the year.

“This upward trend in unemployment is very worrying given the current climate of downscaling and cutbacks. However, most alarming is that 60% of the rise in the numbers unemployed were concentrated in the 25-44 year age group. And yet again males (60%) exceeded females (40%) in the numbers unemployed,” says Eric Conroy, General Secretary of the INOU.

The increase of the unemployment rate from 4.0% in the last quarter of 2001 to 4.5% in the last quarter in 2002 reflects the predictions of economists who foresee the unemployment rate rising to above 5% in 2003. This quarter has also seen long-term unemployment increase by 3,400 to 24,700.

The QNHS also reveal strong regional disparities in unemployment with an increase of 10,800 in the Eastern and Southern Region in comparison to a net increase of 1,000 in the BMW Region.