FG: Emigration at root of dole numbers dip

THE scourge of emigration was blamed yesterday for the biggest fall in the number of people on the dole in two years.

The total seeking benefits came down 24,506 in September and adjusted figures – which strip out seasonal changes such as colleges reopening – showed queues were down by 5,400.

The official Central Statistics Office (CSO) report said unemployment had fallen to 13.7% – still above 440,000.

But Fine Gael enterprise spokesman Richard Bruton described the drop as a “small let-up in the relentless rise in unemployment”. And he warned it should not be seen as a sign that the jobs crisis is easing.

“Instead, it reflects the scourge of rising emigration,” Mr Bruton said.

“The number of Irish people leaving the country is up by a staggering 33% year-on-year.

“The impact of emigration is reflected in a drop in unemployment among the young and the non-Irish in these latest figures.”

He added: “The Government’s blinkered focus of writing whatever cheque is necessary to keep failed banks alive has blinded them to the human cost being felt in every corner and community of this country.”

Labour’s enterprise spokesman Willie Penrose insisted the underlying jobs crisis remained despite the slight improvement in the Live Register.

“This Government is not capable of dealing with the unemployment crisis or leading the country back to recovery,” he said.

“The sooner it recognises this and allows the people to elect a new government with a fresh mandate, the better for all our people.”

A breakdown of the figures showed all parts of the country saw a fall in numbers on the dole, with the west enjoying the biggest breakthrough.

It also showed tradesmen and plant operators and machinists are worst hit by the crisis, making up 26% and 16% respective of the total.

The best improvements were in the professional, clerical and secretarial sectors, the CSO said.

It reported that a third of those on the register are long-term unemployed after repeatedly signing on for more than a year.

Labour warned other CSO reports have shown about 5,000 people are leaving the country every month, making a huge impact on the Live Register.

The Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) warned of the dangers of people languishing on the dole for months and the threat from emigration.

Chief executive Mark Fielding said: “It is completely unacceptable that thousands of young, well-educated individuals see no hope of getting a job and feel that they have little option but to emigrate.

“This is a terrible indictment of an administration that has completely lost control and is leading the country towards a major crash that will take generations to fix.

“The ‘no job, no hope’ attitude, which is current, needs to be addressed in a coherent manner.”

Sean Murphy, Chambers Ireland deputy chief executive, warned: “We cannot assume that such a decline will continue every month.”


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