Live Register Satisfactory but Redundancies Unsatisfactory

7 Nov 2006

While the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU) welcomes the unadjusted reductions in the Live Register (LR) in October published today, it is concerned at the increased number of redundancies in the same month. While the unadjusted total reduced by 3,800 in the month, the adjusted total increased by 100. Included in this latter figure is an increase of 400 in the numbers signing on below 25 years of age.

This category is now 31,000, which is at the higher end of this statistic in recent years. This shows that youth unemployment is continuing to be a problem in Irish society. Every effort must be made to bring this down to the national average.

The actual redundancies for October announced earlier in the week will not be fully reflected in the LR figures due to timing differences. The figure of 2,204 was 5.5% higher than the corresponding amount in 2005. It was the first monthly increase in 2006 since March and the second highest in 2006. This is reflective of the high job losses announced in September. Thus 2006 is heading for another high year for redundancies: the fifth year in a row with totals above 23,000.

“Given the concerns expressed by the INOU and others about the peaking of the construction industry and falling competitiveness in Ireland, there is no time for complacency”, said Mr. Eric Conroy, General Secretary. “If and when construction employment reduces and manufacturing jobs are continually being lost to low-cost countries, there will not be a continuous supply of new service-type jobs to soak up the underlying loss of jobs in the economy. This will lead to increased unemployment in the not –too-distant future”, he added.

The INOU has called for taskforces to be set up where large-scale job losses occur, or at the very least to ascertain if they have been successful in the past. The INOU is pleased that an initiative will be undertaken to address the challenges to the manufacturing sector in the new social partnership agreement, Towards 2016. Based on the job loss record to date, this work cannot start quickly enough.

Lifelong learning and re-training are also vital components to position the Irish workforce for the knowledge-based economy of the future. Tackling early school leaving, and thus impacting on youth unemployment, must also be high up on the Government’s agenda.