Saturday, April 6, 2013

6/4/2013: Part-time & Casual Employment Supports in Ireland

Let's do some more numbers crunching on Irish Live Register for Q1 2013.

In Q1 2012 official Live Register declined 9,902 on Q1 2012 (-2.26%) and down 14,936 on Q1 2011 (-3.37%). Sounds like some achievement. 

Alas, of the above numbers:
  • Of the 9,902 decline on Q1 2012, the decline was just 7,154 when we take into the account state training programmes (-1.38%) and there was a rise of 1,181 (+1.34%) in the numbers who claim Live Register supports while being in casual and part-time employment (more on this below). Thus, the numbers of those fully dependent on Live Register have fallen only 8,335 (-1.94%) on Q1 2012.
  • Of 14,936 decline on Q1 2011 (-3.37%), there was actually an increase in those claiming supports of 3,217 (+0.63%) when we take into the account state training programmes, and there was a rise of 4,352 (+5.13%) in the numbers who claim Live Register supports while being in casual and part-time employment (more on this below). Thus, the numbers of those fully dependent on Live Register have fallen only 1,135 (-0.27%) on Q1 2012.

Now, some would remark that it is better when people are part-time or casually employed, then when they are fully dependent on Live Register supports. I shall, of course, agree with such a statement. However, let's look at what has been happening with casual and part-time employment numbers over time.

  • In 2002-2007 monthly volatility(measured by standard deviation) in the numbers on Live Register who were in casual and part-time employment stood at 1,031. This has risen to 3,979 for the period of 2010-present. In other words, overall casual and part-time employment might have declined significantly in terms of stability of income it offers and, thus reliance on Live Register. This can be due to different quality of skills and occupations for people singing onto Live Register with casual and part-time employment, or it might be due to changes in Live Register supports' eligibility, or both.
  • Of all categories of Live Register signees, volatility of numbers on Live Register has risen only  for part-time and casual workers over 2010-present compared to 2002-2007.2
  • For the Live Register inclusive of the state training programmes participants, volatility has actually fallen over the above periods, driven by declines in volatility for the numbers of signees who are fully reliant on Live Register supports.


To see the deterioration in the quality of casual and part-time employment linked to Live Register participation, consider the chart below:


The chart clearly shows dramatic increase in seasonality of the numbers of those on Live Register in casual and part-time employment for the end of Q2-beginning of Q3 periods since January 2010 as compared to previous years (2002-2007). You can see that the same effect does not appear in the numbers of signees fully dependent on Live Register supports:


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