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Unemployment rate falls to 7.3%

The Republic’s unemployment rate fell to a new post-crash low of 7.3 % during November, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November 2016 was 7.3 % – down from 7.5 % in October 2016 and down from 9.1 % in November 2015.

The number of people unemployed was 160,700 in November 2016, down from 164,100 in October 2016.

The 160,700 figure also represents a decrease of 36,200 when compared to November 2015.

In November 2016, the unemployment rate was 8.3 % for men – down from 8.6 % in October 2016 and down from 10.7 % in November 2015.

Youth unemployment

The unemployment rate for women in November 2016 was 6.1 % – down from 6.2 % in October 2016 and down from 7.1 % in November 2015.

The number of men unemployed in November 2016 was 99,600. This is a decrease of 3,400 when compared to the October 2016 figure of 103,000.

In November 2016, the number of women unemployed was 61,100 – an increase of 100 when compared to October 2016.

The unemployment rate for people aged 15-24 years (youth unemployment rate) was 15.5 % in November 2016, a decrease from 16.4 % in October 2016.

Merrion Stockbrokers economist Alan McQuaid said the fall in the figrues may “to some degree” be down to people returning to education or taking up training schemes.

“Although emigration has been a factor to some degree in keeping unemployment down since the financial crisis, the labour market has improved dramatically in recent years, reflecting the strengthening of the economic recovery,” he said.

“Meanwhile, in the third quarter of 2016, employment rose in twelve of the fourteen economic sectors on an annual basis and fell in the other two in the quarter.”

The greatest rates of increase were in the accommodation and food service activities sector, which rose 9.6 % or 13,400, and in construction, which rose 7.3 % or 9,300.

“The pick-up in the latter is particularly encouraging given that it was the building industry that suffered the worst in the downturn,” said Mr McQuaid.

Outlook

The outlook from next year on however, is “more uncertain” in light of Britain’s impending exit from the European Union.

“Increased labour market participation will also impact on the numbers,” he said. “Still, we expect the downward trend in unemployment to continue over the next twelve months, albeit at a slower pace than before.”

ISME chief executive Neil McDonnell said living costs were impacting job creation.

“Government policies strongly influence almost 48 % of the costs in the Consumer Price Index,” he said. “They must act now to reduce these costs, in health, education, housing, rent, insurance and travel”.

Mr McDonnell called on Government to reduce business costs to below the EU average, target capital investment in job rich infrastructure, outsource more state sector services to SMEs, and to reform the social welfare system to make it more profitable to work.

“If Government-controlled costs are reduced, workers would have more money in their pockets,” he said. “This would reduce the calls for pay increases, and would allow employers take on more staff.”

source http://www.irishtimes.com/


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