Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Economics 1/12/10: Live Register

Live Register data was out today, throwing some positive news into the generally adverse newsflow. The headline figure is that November LR has declined 4,200 in seasonally adjusted terms month on month.

This follows declines of 5,400 in September and 6,200 in October. In 11 months through November we are still clocking and increase of 9,900. Expressed in weekly terms, chart below illustrates the dynamics.


Now, net average and monthly changes:
Seasonally-adjusted implied unemployment rate dipped slightly again, for the third month in the row:
Unemployment, as estimated by the LR, now stands at 13.5%, having slipped from the high of 13.8% back in August. It is impossible to tell, based on LR, whether the moderation is driven by contracting labour force (with LR dropouts) or emigration (ditto) or outflow of LR recipients to education, or all three. However, some reduction in new jobs destruction can be expected over a period of time of 3-5 months, given the level of jobs destruction prior to mid 2010. Whether this is sustainable trend or a 'dead cat bounce' effect is a matter of time.

One possible glimpse at what is going on relates to the males LR numbers, which has fallen by a larger proportion than female in November. Males unemployment was much faster to rise and started to do so earlier in the cycle, which means that males are now more likely to come off LR and also to emigrate. However, the emigration story might be overplayed here. There was a monthly decrease of 4,698 (-1.3%) in Irish nationals on LR and an increase of 147 (+0.2%) in non-Irish nationals. So, with non-nationals more likely to emigrate (return migration or movement to another third country for employment), these numbers suggest that emigration is most likely not a significant contributor to the LR changes.

On the other hand, based on occupational groups, the encouraging signs are clearly evident:
  • The largest percentage decrease was in the Professional group (-6.0%), followed by the Clerical and secretarial group (-3.9%) - potentially, a sign that professional services are starting to stabilize
In contrast,
  • In the year to November 2010 the largest percentage increase was in the Other occupations group (+11.2%), while the next largest increases were in the Personal and protective service (+8.8%) and Sales (+7.1%) groups.
  • The largest percentage decrease was in the Managers and administrators group (-3.7%).
So overall, the numbers would be cautiously optimistic, at least as far as potentially signaling a bottoming out of the jobs destruction cycle.

One point of pressure that remains is the duration of unemployment:
  • There was a monthly unadjusted decrease of 7,270 (-2.6%) in short term (less than one year) claimants on the Live Register in November, while the number of long term claimants increased by 2,719 (1.8%). This clearly shows that transition into long-term unemployment continues.
Likewise of concern is the quality of employment (although, of course, having at least a part-time job is much better than none at all):
  • In the year to November 2010 the number of casual and part-time workers increased by 6,578 (+8.9%).
Post a Comment