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Number of people at work rises for first time in over four years

Unemployment stood at 14.2pc at the end of 2012 – down 0.4pc in three months – but emigration played a key role.

The dole queues grew shorter over the course of 2012 - though emigration accounts for over half of the fall.
The dole queues grew shorter over the course of 2012 - though emigration accounts for over half of the fall.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THE NUMBER of Irish people at work rose in 2012 – the first time in over four years that Ireland has registered an annual increase in the numbers at work.

1,848,900 people were employed in Ireland in the fourth quarter of 2012, an increase of 1,200 (0.06 per cent) on the equivalent period of 2012, according to CSO figures published this morning.

The figures mark the first time since the second quarter of 2008 that the numbers at work in this country has grown over a 12-month period.

However, the figures also indicate that the total number of people in the labour force – who would be available for work here, irrespective of whether they have a job or not – shrank over the course of the year.

The total labour force now stands at 2,143,500 – a figure which has fallen by 18,000 over the course of 2012. The CSO estimates that 9,900 of this fall is a result of emigration, with changes in the age profile of the Irish workforce accounting for the rest.

The fall in the labour force means the numbers unemployed stands at 294,600 – down by 19,200 on last year, bringing the unemployment rate down from 14.6 per cent to 14.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012.

A breakdown of the figures shows that while the number of unemployed men has remained broadly static over the last three years, the proportion of men who have been out of work for a year or more has grown significantly – with over two-thirds of unemployed men being out of work for over a year.

Among females, there has also been a growth in long-term unemployment, with just under half of all unemployed women now being out of work for 12 months or more.

Unemployment stays at 14.1 per cent in February

The unemployment figure for February 2013, based on separate Live Register figures published by the CSO this morning, stood at 14.1 per cent – down from 15.0 per cent 12 months ago.

428,000 people are signing on this month, including some who have casual part-time employment.

The number of long-term claimants on the Live Register – those who have been signing on for twelve months or more – rose to 44.2 per cent, up from 42.0 per cent a year ago. People under 25 now account for over a fifth of all those signing on.

Read: One new emigrant every five minutes, according to latest CSO figures

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Gavan Reilly

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