Number of people on training schemes falls to 79,000

The number of people on activation schemes has fallen in the past year but the high numbers suggest the jobless rate will be slow to fall because of the large number of people seeking work.

The schemes do not go toward the official unemployment count.

Analysts have said that unemployment here may slow to fall sharply as emigrants, who were forced out to seek work abroad during the crisis, return home.

The unemployment rate of 8.6% remains well above the UK rate of 5.1%. However, less focus has fallen on the numbers on activation schemes, which include back-to-work programmes for employees and the self- employed, and who are not on the unemployment count. Those people represent a large pool of available workers.

Live Register figures published yesterday show there were just over 79,000 on government schemes in February. That is down by about 700 people participating in the schemes in the previous month, and about 10% fewer than the 87,625 people in February 2015.

On the eve of the crisis, in May 2008, there were however only 47,721 people on a range of government training schemes, according to data on the CSO online database. That suggests the official unemployment rate would be significantly higher but for the many participating on government training schemes.

In February, there were 12,127 people on schemes, including those for the self-employed; there were 14,771 people on Community Workplace and Job Bridge programmes; 22,730 people participated in Community Employment Schemes; 6,587 people on Solas full-time training; and 22,794 people were participating in back to education courses.

The latest monthly figures again showed those industries hit hard by the banking and property collapse and by the long years of austerity are still most likely to be on the Live Register. The CSO said that craft and related workers account for about a fifth of all people on the Live Register, despite a sharp fall of 13.6% recorded in that occupation group in the past year. Associate professionals, technical managers and administrators accounts for the smallest shares by occupation on the register.


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