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According to the Central Statistics Office, a total of 425,088 signed on the Live Register (for unemployment benefits) in March with the figure down 8,966 (-2.1%). over the course of the last year.
The standardised unemployment rate (SUR) in March 2013 was 14.0%, unchanged from the revised February 2013 rate but down -0.9% from a year ago. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate from the most recent Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) was 14.2% in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The Small Firms Association has warned the Government must re-skill and re-train the thousands of long-term unemployed.
Director Avine McNally said while the latest Live Register figures indicate a stabilisation of employment, the fact 187,896 people have been out of work for more than a year is a worry.
"There is a major concern in today's figures, with 44% of individuals on the Live Register classed as long-term unemployed," Ms McNally was quoted as say in the Irish Independent.
"The task the Government faces in re-skilling and re-training is daunting, but necessary, if Ireland is to further improve the quality of our workforce and to avoid a long period of structural unemployment.”
Although the Live Register is not designed to measure unemployment, since it includes part-time workers (those who work up to three days a week), seasonal and casual workers entitled to Jobseeker’s Benefit or Allowance,it is a good measure of the health of the Irish Labour market.
There were 89,798 casual and part-time workers on the Live Register in March, which represents 21.1% of the total Live Register. This compares with 20.4% one year earlier, when there were 88,716 casual and part-time workers on the Live Register. In the year to March 2013, the number of casual and part-time workers increased by 1,082 (+1.2%), with the number of males increasing by 1,422 (+3.0%) and the number of females decreasing by 340 (-0.8%).
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