Thursday, June 6, 2013

6/6/2013: Can Ballyfermot area unemployment be running at ca 60%?

A survey conducted by Sin Fein in the specific area of Dublin landed in my mailbox today.

"Survey shows 60.28% unemployment in Cherry Orchard: Ballyfermot Sinn Féin conducted an unemployment survey in the greater Cherry Orchard area. The purpose of which was to identify at first hand the true level of unemployment experienced by residents.

Speaking today after the survey was published; Sinn Féin’s Ballyfermot representative Daithí Doolan has called for, ‘immediate action to provide jobs for Ballyfermot.’ Doolan said, ‘Our aim was to identify at first hand the true level of unemployment experienced by the residents in Cherry Orchard. The findings of our survey are shocking and should act as a wake-up call to local government TDs.  We knocked on every door in Cherry Orchard. The stories we heard were heart breaking, families struggling with unemployment and emigration. The findings show that a massive 60.28% of those surveyed are unemployed. Even more concerning is the fact that over 85% are long term unemployed."

The question is: the shocking 60.28% unemployment rate figure - can it be true? Sadly, in my opinion, it can be true. Sinn Fein survey basically asked people the broadest question of defining whether they are working or not (self-reported unemployment, unrestricted by CSO methodological constraints). Thus, we can interpret it to be equivalent to CSO PLS4 category of unemployment (see http://trueeconomics.blogspot.ie/2013/05/3052013-official-broader-unemployment.html), plus those in state training programmes.

I define this metric as PLS4+STP, which in Q1 2013 nationwide was running at ca 29%. However, this metric excludes those who are unemployed and are in non-state training. Given the geography of the area surveyed, there is little reason to believe that the number of those in education and training but not in employment in the area is outside the nationwide average. Adding them into the PLS$+STP group should push overall 'unemployment' as self-reported potentially to 32-33%. The area of Ballyfermot has always had higher rates of unemployment than other areas of the country. For example, in 2006 unemployment in Ballyfermot was reportedly running at around 11.2% while nationwide unemployment was running at 5.2%. In 2008 the same was true, compared to Dublin overall: http://irelandafternama.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/unemployment-dublin-ea-scale-2008.jpg and things got worse into 2009: http://irelandafternama.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/live-register-recipients-increase-aug-08-to-feb-09.jpg.

There is plenty more evidence to support the assertion that overall broader unemployment in the Ballyfermot area can be running at around twice the rate of the national unemployment and this would push broader unemployment in the area surveyed by Sinn Fein out toward 60%.



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