Wednesday, August 1, 2012

1/8/2012: Some sub-trends in the irish Live Register for July 2012

So, now that you've been fed the 'great news' story by the Irish 'analysts', and having, hopefully read my first post on the subject of Live Register numbers (link here), you might wonder - what sub-trends dominate the time series relating to irish unemployment in July.

Trend 1: long-term unemployment is now at all time high. Here's an honest down the line analysis from the CSO: "The number of long term claimants on the Live Register in July 2012 was 200,086. The number of male long term claimants increased by 4,160 (+3.0%) in the year to July 2012, while the comparable increase for females was 5,864 (+11.1%) giving an overall annual increase of 10,024 (+5.3%) in the number of long term claimants." Let me add to this: July 2012 figure of long-term unemployed is up 837 m/m.


"In July 56.5% (260,237) of all claimants on the Live Register were short term claimants. The comparable figure for July 2011 was 59.6% (280,222). The annual fall of 19,985 (-7.1%) in the number of short term claimants consisted of a decrease of 14,140 (-8.8%) in the number of male short term claimants and a decrease of 5,845 (-4.9%) in female short term claimants."

Now, when you think about it, the long term unemployed numbers include (or are net of) those who lose their benefits due to duration and changes in family circumstances. They are also net of those who leave the LR deciding to emigrate. These effects are much less pronounced for the shorter-term unemployed. And yet, the long term unemployment continues to rise. Not, that is something you won't hear in the Irish media either. Never mind, the 'experts' Irish broadcast editors pick for their panels are smart & do original research, aren't they?

Youth unemployment next: Per CSO "In the year to July 2012 the number of persons aged 25 and over on the Live Register decreased by 1,340 (-0.4%), and the number of persons aged under 25 decreased by 8,621 (-9.7%). Annual decreases in persons aged under 25 have occurred in all months since July 2010. The percentage of persons aged under 25 on the Live Register now stands at 17.5% for July 2012, down from 19.0% in July 2011 and 20.3 % in July 2010." These are NOT seasonally-adjusted figures, so y/y comparatives is all that matters and the news is decent here - at a headline level. Alas, we have no idea whether the young unemployed are getting new jobs or simply emigrate, though given the reduction in LR benefits for the younger workers, most likely they have a stronger incentive to emigrate. They also have a much better ability to do so, due to visa restrictions differences by age and lack of debt chain holding them back in Ireland.


One related sub-theme is that of the quality of employment out there. No direct gauge for it in the LR, but a glimpse via the numbers of casual and part-time signees on LR. per CSO: "There were 88,041 casual and part-time workers on the Live Register in July, which represents 19.1% of the total Live Register. This compares with 18.3% one year earlier when there were 85,865 casual and part-time workers on the Live Register. In the year to July 2012 the number of casual and part-time workers
increased by 2,176 (+2.5%)..." So while it is much better to have a casual or part-time job than not to have one, the trend remains the same - that of deteriorating, not improving quality of opportunities.


Nationals v Non-Nationals breakdown shows a slight decline in the proportion of LR recipients who are non-nationals. The fact that this decline has been very shallow and the fact that the numbers of national on the LR is declining at a similar percentage rate as that of non-nationals suggests that emigration is most likely fairly evenly spread between the two categories.


So much more 'speculative' analysis, if you want, but all pointing to either little change or deterioration in the underlying conditions relating to the labor market in Ireland.
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