Thursday, January 9, 2014

9/1/2014: Live Register: December 2013

Live Register for December was published earlier this week. Let's take a look at the recent changes and trends.

Using seasonally-adjusted data:

  • December 2013 LR stood at 402,800, lowest reading since May 2009 and down 6.7% y/y. October 2013 reading was down 6.2% on October 2012, so strong downward trend is clearly present.
  • Good news is that in 2013 the LR declines came alongside increases in labour force participation. In Q3 2013, LR averaged 416,100, down 19,633 y/y, while labour force participation increased 16,300. We don't have data for labour force participation for Q4 2013 year, so that comparative will have to wait.
  • Over Q4 2013, average Live Register numbers fell 2.39% on Q3 2013 average and was down 6.15% year on year. The latter marks acceleration in LR declines : in Q3 2013 LR average was down 4.51% y/y.
  • Overall seasonally-adjusted LR declined 28,800 y/y in December and was down 3,300 m/m.

Under-25 years of age: 

  • Number of LR recipients under 25 years of age stood at 62,400 in December 2013, down 11.6% y/y (-8,200) and down 900 on October 2013.
  • Stripping out some volatility, Q4 2013 average was down 3.46% q/q and 11.1% y/y for those under 25 years of age.

Casual and Part-time Workers: 

  • 81,382 casual and part-time workers were on the Live Register in December 2013, down 7.6% y/y
  • On a quarterly averages basis, Q4 2013 figure was 4.2% lower than Q3 and 6.5% lower than Q4 2013.

Coupled with lower jobs creation for the younger workers and slower growth in part-time employment reported in Q3 2013 QNHS data, the above facts suggests that significant share of overall improvement in the Live Register can be down to exits from the LR that are neither registering as unemployed nor employed. This, of course, would mean they are either dropping off unemployment schemes due to expiration of benefits and/or emigrating. Alas, we have no real data on what happens to those who exit the LR schemes.

However, we do have data on State Training Programmes (STPs) participation - counting individuals who do receive LR financial supports, yet are not counted as being on LR. Do note, we also have a lag in reporting of these numbers with the latest data currently available for November 2013.
  • In November 2013, 85,738 individuals were in STPs - up 2% (+1,677). M/m STPs participants rose 1,100, accounting for almost 1/3 of the 3,500 decline in overall live register in October-November 2013.
  • Combining STP participants and official LR counts, total number of those on unemployment supports in December 2013 stood at 488,538 (using November LR figure) against November count of 491,838.

On average, in Q4 2013, 23% of Irish workforce was in receipt of unemployment assistance, up on 22.2% in Q3 2013 and down on 23.1% in Q2 2013. In Q4 2012 the same proportion was 24.1%.

The good news is that even accounting for those on STPs, Live Register total has fallen back in 2013. In Q4 2013 average total LR+STPs numbers were down ca 4.7% y/y (assuming there is no dramatic change in STPs numbers when these are reported for December).

Some trends next.

First overall LR and LR with training programmes included:

Both are off-peaks (good thing, assuming it is happening not by throwing people into poverty), but while Official Live Register is trending strongly down, once training programmes are included, the downward trend is shallower.

Live Register for under-25 year olds:

Again, good trend - downward and strong - stronger rate of recovery than in the early 1990s. Of course we also have more outflows due to emigration today than in the 1990s.

Overall, 25 year-olds as proportion of total Live Register today are at their historical low of 15.4%:

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