THE number of people claiming the dole in Co Cork increased by 68% in just one year — the second biggest rise of any county in the country.
According to figures released by the Central Statistics office the surge was 68% from 25,282 in November 2008 to 42,408 last month.
Cork city itself saw an increase of 63% but it was in the commuter towns of Mallow (77%), Midleton (72%) and Carrigaline (89%) where the effect of the recession appears to have been particularly prevalent.
The only county which saw a bigger increase than Cork was Co Meath where the numbers claiming the dole rose 71% from 6,292 to 10,766. One of the lowest is Co Kerry where the number rose 42% from 11,072 to 15,670.
The percentage increases vary from a low of 43% in counties Donegal and Longford and 45% in counties Clare and Galway to 60% in counties Dublin and Carlow and 61% in Co Limerick.
Across the country the number on the live register of people of working age claiming social welfare payments rose from 267,189 to 413,505 — an increase of 55%.
Provincially, Leinster has seen a 57% rise, Munster a 57% rise, Connacht a 48% rise and Ulster a 46% rise.
In November 2009, there were 336,725 Irish nationals and 76,780 foreigners on the live register.
In the year to last month, the number of Irish nationals on the register increased 119,170, while the corresponding annual increase for foreigners was 27,146.
Among foreigners, the largest number were nationals from the former EU accession states (42,311) while the smallest number were from the EU15 states outside Ireland and Britain (4,031).
Foreigners represented 18.6% of all persons on the register in November.
Estimates from the Quarterly National Household Survey for April to June show foreigners represented an estimated 15% of all persons in the labour force aged between 17 and 65 years, the relevant age range for the live register.
There have been varied reactions to the figures, particularly when considering the month-on-month increases so far in 2009.
When the figures are framed by that comparison, they actually show the numbers joining the live register have slowed.
That has enabled economists to downgrade their average figure for the live register this year from 440,000 to 400,000.
However, despite the slowdown in the numbers joining the register, a number of bodies are still predicting the numbers claiming dole will continue to increase in 2010.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved