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Unemployment rate increased in May, reaching 14.8 per cent

Figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the numbers signing on jumped by 2,600 in the month of May.

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IRELAND’S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE rose in the month of May and now stands just off its recession-era peak, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office.

The figures show that the rate of unemployment reached 14.8 per cent in May, as the numbers on the live register rose by 2,600 since April.

There was even worse news as the CSO’s figures reversed last month’s estimate of a minor decrease in unemployment in April. The CSO’s revised figures show unemployment having remained at 14.7 per cent for the first four months of the year.

The increased rate means that the number of people in Ireland out of work is now only slightly off its peak of 14.9 per cent as recorded in December 2010. The numbers on the live register are about 5,000 off their own peak, reached in August 2010.

By comparison, the unemployment rate was 13.2 per cent this time last year, and just 5.5 per cent at this time three years ago.

The increased numbers on the live register comprised mostly of males, though female claimants made up around 70 per cent of the total increase over the last twelve months.

The number of casual and part-time workers on the live register, who are still entitled to some jobseekers’ benefit or allowance, was up by just over 6,000 and now stands at 84,933 – accounting for almost a fifth of the total number.

The unemployment rate is cast in an even worse light when the estimated number of emigrants is taken into account – yesterday Ernst & Young estimated that the labour force in Ireland had fallen by about 100,000 as a result of net emigration.

Its Economic Eye report estimated that another 35,000 people would leave Ireland this year.

The report also forecasted that unemployment rates in Ireland would peak between now and the end of 2012 before falling slowly – ultimately subsiding to a rate of around 9.5 per cent in 2010.

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