Unemployment claimants jump 6.5 per cent in October

Rossa White, Davy Stockbrokers

Rossa White, Davy Stockbrokers

The seasonally adjusted Live Register total increased from 244,500 in September to 260,300 in October, an increase of 15,800, the latest figures from the CSO reveal.

In the year to October 2008, there was an unadjusted increase of 94,502 - a 60 per cent rise - compared to an unadjusted increase of 79,565 - a rise of 49.5 per cent - in the year to September 2008.

The monthly increase in the seasonally adjusted series consisted of an increase of 11,100 males and an increase of 4,800 females.

The standardised unemployment rate in October was 6.7per cent. This compares with 5.1pc in the second quarter of 2008, the latest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate from the Quarterly National household Survey.

The number of people claiming unemployment benefit surged 6.5 per cent in October compared with September —that was the biggest rise since the labour market turned in early 2007, the largest jump ever in absolute terms at 15,800 and the second-biggest leap in percentage terms (only January 1975 was worse ).

According to Rossa White of Davy Stockbrokers, the Irish private sector labour market is weakening more rapidly than before.

“We have not yet reached the point at which that downward momentum slows. Unemployment rate in line with our forecasts: negative implications for spending and the banking sector.

“The unemployment rate is estimated at 6.7 per cent in October, up from a low-point of 4.3 per cent in late-2006.

“We had forecast 6.6 per cent for the mid-point of Q4 (actually September-November ), based on the household survey (the official measure of unemployment ). The survey for that three-month period will not be released until February 2009.

“We project a rate of 8.5 per cent for October 2009. The outlook for spending is negative (retail sales are already down seven per cent since end-2007 ).

“The data will also have implications for the banks' mortgage books and consumer loans and serve as an indirect guide to business conditions.

“Private sector is taking the pain, so it could be a time for public sector cuts.

“Painful job reductions are happening right across the private sector. It is time for significant job cuts in administrative grades in the public service, as the longterm fiscal position demands immediate action,” he said.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen said yesterday that economy has to retain its competitiveness and that every economy was losing jobs at the moment.

However, Labour leader Eamon Gilmore accused the Government of abandoning people who are losing jobs. He said the only action taken in the Budget that impacts on the unemployed was to make it more difficult to qualify for jobseekers benefit and to restrict the period for which it is paid.

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