Monday, January 30, 2012

30/1/2012: Irish Long-term Unemployment Saga

Unemployment figures, by age - distinguish youth and adult unemployment - have been preoccupying many analysts in recent weeks. Loads of media attention has been paid - internationally, if not in Ireland - to the plight of youth unemployment. In the next several posts, I will take a closer look at the data for EU27, including Ireland. All of the data comes courtesy of the Eurostat and covers the latest available period Q3 2011.

First, let's take a look at long term unemployment (defined as unemployment spell of 12 months or more) and very long-term unemployment (defined as 24 months or more).

Table below summarizes the data:

As you can see, we are not exactly a good performer. Prior to the crisis, Irish long-term unemployment averaged just 1.4% of the active age population - 23rd lowest in the group of EU27 plus Norway. In Q3 2011 our long-term unemployment stood at 8.8% - the third highest in the sample of 28 states. Over the period covered we have experienced an increase in long-term unemployment of 7.4 percentage points - the steepest rise in the EU27+Norway.

Matters are even worse when it comes to very long-term unemployment, where our rate has moved from  0.7% average for Q3 readings pre-crisis to 5.4% in Q3 2011 - an increase of 4.7 percentage points. Only Slovakia (6.0%) is worse performer than Ireland in terms of overall very long-term unemployment rate and we are the absolute worst in the EU27 + Norway group in terms of increase in very long-term unemployment.

Here is a chart to illustrate some of the above:

\Broken down by gender:

Long-term unemployment rates for men and women:

Ireland used to rank 22 in the EU 27+Norway in the size of its long-term unemployment pool amongst the males prior to the crisis. By Q3 2011 we had the highest rate of male long-term unemployment. We fared much better in terms of long-term female unemployment, moving from the lowest unemployment in the sample of countries prior to the crisis to 9th highest position. However, in both male and female long-term unemployment, Ireland experienced the largest and second largest, respectively, increases during the crisis.

Things are even worse for Irish very long-term unemployed figures. Prior to the crisis, very long term unemployment amongst Irish males averaged 1.0% (22nd highest in the EU27+Norway). In Q3 2011 that number rose to 7.5% (the highest in the EU27+Norway). This increase was the largest in the sample of countries over the period.

Very long-term unemployment amongst the females in Ireland averaged just 0.4% in pre-crisis period - third lowest in the EU27+Norway sample. In Q3 2011 this rose to 2.4% - 10th highest reading in the sample. Ireland's rate of increase in female very long-term unemployment was the fastest in the EU27 + Norway group of countries.

In the next post we will take a look at the unemployment figures by age.


Anonymous said...

Glad Constantine is looking into this. Might reveal the real figures that some nations don't want highlighted. Underlying analysis is needed and this provides a bases for discussion.
Well done, at last a economist with vigour recognises this issue.

commercial factoring said...

issue is still under analysis? writer gave a great post about this information.