Drop in Live Register figures welcomed, but caution urged

There was a widespread welcome to the news that the number of people on the Live Register had fallen for the 20th month in a row, with the numbers on the register in Mayo dropping by six per cent in the last 12 months. Government TD John O’Mahony, in welcoming the news, said this week: “A total of 61,000 net new jobs were created across the country last year. We’ve come from a situation where we were shedding 1,600 jobs per week, to one where we are creating 1,200 jobs per week. The pace of jobs growth over the last year has been very encouraging, and the Government is determined to increase these figures even further in the year ahead.” He did acknowledge that there is still a long road ahead on this front, saying: “While the number of people out of work in Mayo is falling, we still have a long way to go. But I am confident that we can build on jobs growth in the year ahead.”

His constituency colleague, Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary, speaking on the news said: “Any fall in the numbers signing on is certainly welcome. However it’s important to note that this does not mean that all of these people are back to work. If it was a case that the drop in the Live Register was a direct result of job creation, the income tax take would be up significantly. We can see from the latest exchequer figures, published yesterday, that this is not the case as there was no growth in income tax receipts,”

He continued: “The figures also mask the extent of emigration. With wage levels down significantly, particularly for graduates, too many of our young people are still forced to go abroad for work. This is reflected in the worrying fall of 22,000 in the numbers of 25-34 year olds in work. Many other job seekers have been kicked off the Live Register as their benefits have expired. If someone comes to the end of their nine months Jobseekers Benefit, they may not be entitled to Jobseekers Allowance due to their overall household income. In many instances, these people will declare themselves as ‘self-employed’ but they are not making any reasonable income. This is also reflected in the weak income tax returns.”

 

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