400 extra on Live Register

The number of people signing on the Live Register climbed for the first time in more than two years last month, pointing towards slowing job creation.

While this year has seen a continued decline in the number of those out of work, the rate has slowed a little of late with the marginal increase of 400 claimants the first increase since April 2013.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained steady at 9.5% despite the increase, however.

The number of unemployed to the end of August is now down 32,200, or 13.5%, to 206,500 since the same period last year.

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) laid the blame for the slowing pace of growth at the government’s door, saying that little has been done to curb cost pressures despite favourable global factors.

“At a time when we have negative inflation, low interest rates and decreasing oil prices our domestic costs have continued to increase,” said ISME chief executive Mark Fielding. 

“The failure to deal with upward-only leases, legal costs, energy prices and the introduction of numerous public service charges, continues to put pressure on struggling business.”

ISME said the Government’s decision to “cave in” on public sector pay raises that will see workers’ pay packets increase by €2,000 over the next two years has put additional pressure on the private sector.

The uncertainty around potential wage increases has stalled employment growth in the sector, he added.

However, analysts, painted a more positive picture. Most employment surveys point to strong jobs growth in the second half of the year, David McNamara of Davy Stockbrokers said.

However, he also warned of public sector wage inflation with a year-on-year rise of 2.3% seen in the second quarter of the year.

Merrion Stockbrokers chief economist Alan McQuaid said that he expects the jobless rate to fall to about 9.2% by the close of the year and below 9% in 2016, assuming the economy continues to grow.

Eurozone data released yesterday showed an unexpected fall in unemployment to 10.9% in July from 11.1%, the lowest level since February 2012, with the decline largely driven by improvements in the periphery.

To date this year, unemployment has fallen in all EU countries bar France, Finland, and Austria.


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