Where are the long-term unemployed going?

27 Feb 2013

Today the Central Statistics Office published the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) figures for Quarter 4 2012 and the Live Register figures for February 2013. According to the QNHS employment increased by 1,200 people in the fourth quarter of last year and unemployment fell by 19,200. At a glance this looks a welcome development however looking more closely at the figures does raise the question: where have the long-term unemployed gone?

The numbers in the Labour Force fell by 18,000: emigration and people returning to education and training would account for some of this drop. However, an increase of 19,800 in the number of people deemed 'not in the labour force' suggests that some people have become discouraged in their search for employment. The cold reality is that for many people there is very little work in their area: be that by geography or sector or both.

Looking at the Live Register, it is interesting to note that the numbers of people signing-on for more than a year was 2,323 higher in February than for December 2012. For the 189,467 people signing-on for more than a year Ireland needs employment growth on a significant scale and activation measures that ensures unemployed people are accessing the right supports to facilitate them to get back to work, decent work.