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Some iffy job numbers show that everything's not quite rosy right now

The unemployment rate has stopped falling.

Image: Niall Carson

FOR THE FIRST time in over two years, the number of people unemployed in the State increased on a month-by-month basis.

The CSO records that there were 206,500 people unemployed in August on a seasonally adjusted basis, that’s 400 more than the previous month.

Although the rise is too small to effect the overall rate at 9.5%, it’s the first time numbers have actually increased since the first quarter of 2013.

The 9.5% figure has been static over the last three months. That’s a full quarter with no reduction in the rate of unemployment.

On a yearly basis the figures are still going in the right direction, with 32,200 fewer people unemployed this time last year. In August 2014 the unemployment rate sat at 10.4%.

Drilling down into the figures it can been seen that the rise in unemployment came almost completely from amongst women, with the number of unemployed men remaining the same.

Reacting to the figures, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association says that the government needs to stop thinking about election promises and deal with the realities of job creation.

“If the priority of this government is job creation, then it must assist rather than hinder those of us who can create jobs,” says ISME’s Mark Fielding.

“Planning and policies must take precedence over platitudes and promises from ministers jostling for political gain. The coalition will be judged on jobs created by SMEs, it is high time they realised that and did more to help.”

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Sinn Féin has noted that the employment rate has remained stagnant at 9.5% with jobs spokesperson Peadar Tóibín describing today’s figures as “worrying”.

“The harsh cuts to lone parent supports last month has re-categorised citizens and no doubt forced many out of part-time work,” he said.

Tóibín also made reference to youth employment which shows nearly 21% of 15-24 year-olds are unemployed:

“Over four and a half years after the government came to power, outward emigration continues to blight this state with the CSO estimating the net emigration of 23,200 Irish nationals in the last year alone. 80,000 people continue on action schemes, many not being paid the market rate for their work.”

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Rónán Duffy

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