Looking behind the figures

5 Nov 2014

Today the Central Statistics Office released the Live Register figures for October 2014. The overall downward trend continues, influenced by a variety of factors. Some people are finding work, some people are re-entering education and training, many people have emigrated and others are no longer on the register as they did not make the transition from Jobseekers Benefit, the social insurance based payment, to Jobseekers Allowance, the means tested payment. 

Even allowing for this, the percentage of people in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance is growing in comparison to Jobseekers Benefit. This is particularly striking for people aged under 25 years of age. In October 2008 JA applications accounted for 65% of young people on the register, in October 2014 this figure stands at 94.3%. And though over that period the numbers of young people on the register has decreased by 5.6%, the numbers of young people in receipt of JA has increased by 36%. It is important to remember that for a young person to qualify for a JA payment his or her families circumstances are also taken into account if he or she is living at home. So not only are many young people surviving with few means so are many of their families. “Finding work is a job in itself and it demands resources, resources that are very difficult to come by on a Jobseekers payment that is at the most only €100,” noted Bríd O’Brien, INOU’s Head of Policy and Media.    

The numbers of people on the Register for more than a year has also fallen to 170,892 people, the last time this figure was at this level was April 2011 when there were 169,420 people on the register for more than a year. At that stage people on the register for more than a year represented 38.5% of the register, now they represent 47.7% of the register. Clearly a lot more needs to be done to support people who are long-term unemployed to find paid employment. “The Department of Social Protection JobPath initiative will be rolled out early next year and it is absolutely vital that it delivers for people who are long-term unemployed,” noted John Stewart, Coordinator with the INOU.