ISME, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association, has described the live register figures for August as ‘awful’, showing that the labour market remains in crisis. The Association demanded that tough and unpopular decisions to address chronic unemployment, which have been long-fingered by the coalition, be implemented. The latest seasonally adjusted live register figures confirm that 434,400 people are claiming assistance down 2,000 in the month.
The figure for long-term unemployed continues to grow, now standing at a massive 44.2% of the total, an increase from 40.8% in August 2011 and a horrendous rise from 24.7% in February 2010. The standardised unemployment rate stands at 14.7%. ISME advise new policies on tackling the on-going Social Welfare Trap, a focus on cost competitiveness, with a concerted effort to tackle local charges, energy, rents, transport costs and red tape, addressing the lack of bank credit available in the economy and tackling the surge in the black economy.