"The biggest concern in many households around the country today is the loss of a job, where a household has gone from two incomes to one or from one to none, said Éamon Ó Cuív TD, Minister for Social Protection. "The Government is very concerned at the difficulties households are facing because of unemployment and the creation of new jobs is our top priority."
Commenting on the Live Register figures published by the CSO (5 August 2010), Minister Ó Cuív said: "The Live Register has risen every July without exception over the last 20 years due to seasonal factors. It has now reached 452,500 on a seasonally adjusted basis. This increase in the Live Register during the summer will be reversed in the autumn. It is worth noting that within the register are over 64,000 people who have employment - either part-time or casual work. We want to improve our economy to get as many of those people as possible back to a 5-day week."
Minister Ó Cuív added: "While the register figures are at a very high level, the figures rose more slowly in July than in June, despite the fact that the July total covered a five week period, while the June total covered four weeks. The month-on-month increase in the Live Register for July 2010 is also the lowest July increase since 2007. This shows that the Government's hard choices have brought stability to the economy over 2009 and 2010."
In relation to long-term unemployment, the Minister said: "Two out of every three unemployed people leave the Live Register within six months of signing-on, so much of the unemployment is not of a very long duration. Over 71,000 people came off the register and went in to employment in the 6 months from October 2009 to March 2010. We are very concerned to protect others from a drift into long-term unemployment which is one reason why the PRSI holiday initiative for employers is focused on creating new jobs for people who have been on the Live Register for 6 months or more."
Minister Ó Cuív also said: "A significant number of people who came on to the Live Register since the start of May are people who were in receipt of the Back to Education Allowance. Recipients of this allowance qualify for jobseeker's payments during the summer break and many of those are now on the register over the summer months.
"Across Government we are providing income supports for vulnerable people, more training and education places for those who need to re-skill and supporting innovation and diversification in areas ranging from technology to food production and outdoor activity tourism.
"The issue of enforced inactivity is a huge challenge for people when they are seeking work. One of the priorities in my Department is to place a particular focus on job activation or helping people get back into the workforce. The recently-passed Social Welfare (Misc Provisions) Act 2010 allows the transfer to my Department of schemes (including the Community Employment Scheme; Rural Social Scheme, the Community Services Programme and Job Initiative scheme). I am actively examining ways to use these schemes to create further opportunities to provide social employment."
The CSO data shows that over 83% of people on the Live Register are Irish.
In relation to other nationalities, since December 2009:
- There has been an increase of approximately 5% in the number of people from the UK on the Register bringing their total number to approximately 19,000.
- There was a marginal increase in the number of citizens from the EU-13, i.e. the EU before the new members joined, less Ireland and Britain to a total of 4,100.
- In relation to the new member states that joined the EU, there has been a decrease by about 2% with approximately 42,000 on the Live Register. This figure would seem to indicate that there is an outward migration of people from the new member states out of Ireland in recent months.
- The number of people from non-EU countries on the Live Register is over 14,000. The biggest number of people on the Register from outside the EU are from Nigeria (approximately 3,000) followed by the USA (approximately 700) and the Congo with over 600 on the Live Register.
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