05 April 2008

Unemployment rises to 5.5%

Ireland's unemployment rate has risen from 5.2% to 5.5%, a figure not seen since June 1999.
The information from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show an increase of 8,507 to 197,992, beating February's record rise of 8,000. This represents a 27% increase on the same month last year, the biggest monthly percentage rise since March 1983.

The seasonally adjusted Live Register figure rose by 12,000 from February to reach 199,900.
This is the biggest rise on record.

More worryingly, the increase in March has been evenly split between men and women, suggesting wider deterioration in the labour market beyond the construction sector. This differs from recent months, when men made up most of the rise.

The figures were higher for all Irish regions, with the biggest percentage increase of 7.2% coming in the South-East.

As the jobless figure is rising, the Central Bank says that the problems in the global banking sector are proving to be more prolonged and far-ranging than had been hoped. So the bank expects Irish GNP to increase by just 2% this year, down from a rise of 4.5% in 2007.

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