Wednesday, November 26, 2014

26/11/2014: QNHS Q3 2014: Long-Term Unemployment

As usual with QNHS release, I will be covering a number of various angles relating to the latest unemployment data in a number of posts.

Let's start with duration of unemployment.

Overall, some good news. Official unemployment numbers fell 13.2% y/y in Q3 2014 (a decline of 37,400) for all duration categories. However, the rate of decline has moderated in Q3 compared to Q2. In Q2 2014 y/y drop in unemployment was 15.4% (down 46,200), which means that Q3 unemployment decline was 19% lower than the same y/y decline in Q2.

Across all demographic groups, unemployment with duration of less than 1 year dropped 9.9% y/y in Q3 2014 (a decline of 11,300). Again, this is good news. And again the good news are slightly moderated by the fact that the rate of decline has slowed down in Q3 compared to Q2 when unemployment of duration less than 1 year declined by 14.9% (down 18,200).

Long-term unemployment (1 year and longer) across all demographic groups was down 15.7% in Q3 2014 (down 25,900). This is excellent news in general as long-term unemployment is the hardest to shift. However, the rate of decline in long-term unemployment was also slower in Q3 2014 than in Q2 2014. Another good news is that the decline in long term unemployment was concentrated in the middle-age cohorts of 25-44 year olds where long term unemployment dropped by 17.7% y/y in Q3 2014 (down 15,800).

Key relative stat here is the relative share of long-term unemployed in total pool of the unemployed. This is illustrated in the chart below:

The chart shows several interesting trends:

  • Overall share of long term unemployed amongst all unemployed has been trending down since the crisis period peak reached in Q1 2012 (63.5%) and currently it stands at 58.0%. The trend, however, is rather shallow;
  • The shallow nature of the trend in long term unemployment as a share of total unemployment is driven by one group: those aged 25-44.
  • Contrasting this, there has been a roughly volatile and sharply declining trend in long-term unemployed share of total unemployment for those aged 15-24 years of age. Much of this decline is, however, driven by the changing nature of our unemployment benefits system, emigration and state training programmes, rather than jobs creation.
  • A worrying trend is for the demographic of 45 years of age and older. Here, there is an effectively flat trend in the share of long-term unemployed relative to total number of unemployed. Q3 2014 is showing a decline in this share to 69.1%, but that is bang on comparable to Q1 2014 share and is almost identical to 69.3 share in Q3 2013.

The last bit is worth highlighting a little more. As chart below shows, we are still on a rising trend in terms of the 45 year olds and older cohorts as proportion of all unemployed by duration:

In other words, we are facing a big problem in dealing with older unemployed and especially with older long-term unemployed.

Two tables below summarise the main results for changes in y/y terms and compared to Q1 2011.

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