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Live Register figures in Louth up 10% monthly as Covid-19 hits hard

Ardee Social Welfare Office
The Social Welfare Office in Ardee. Photo Credit: Adrian Crawley.

An additional 739 people signed onto the Live Register in Louth in March this year, bringing the countywide total to 7,435 – up 10% on last months figures, even without factoring in those receiving Covid-19 Pandemic Employment Payments or those on the Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme.

Live Register figures, as published by the Central Statistics Office on Thursday, showed that 8,174 people had signed on to the Live Register in the county in the month of March – a period unprecedented in history as the government have introduced a number of emergency measures to support those out of work as the Covid-19 pandemic has forced thousands of businesses around the county to close their doors and/or reduce staffing numbers.

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That is a rise of 10% on the February figure of 7,435 – and that increase is likely to only be the start as the local, national and worldwide economies feel the impact of the spread of coronavirus and the unprecedented knock-on effects it has had on all industries.

The March figure of 8,174, as it stands on April 2nd, is the highest Live Register figure for Louth since last August when the number stood at 8,248. The 739 (10%) increase is the biggest month-on-month rise since May 2012.

In Ardee, there has been an 18.6% rise between February and March – with the figure rising by 147, from 789 to 936. The Live Register is now at its highest point since July 2018. In Drogheda, an increase of 16.6% saw the number signing on in March rise from 3,283 to 3,830.

According to CSO figures, Live Register figures for Dundalk have risen by just 1% between February and March, up to 3,408.* from 3,363. Given the large disparity of percentage increases between Ardee & Drogheda and Dundalk, LouthNow.ie queried the figure for Dundalk with the Central Statistics Office, but were told underlying data is correct.

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The Live Register is not just a means of measuring unemployment. It’s figures include part-time workers who work three days-a-week or less, and casual and seasonal workers who are entitled to Jobseekers Benefit or Jobseekers Allowance.

The figures released by the CSO today do not include recipients of the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment payment and the Revenue Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme. However, the CSO say they are aware that individuals who are entitled to the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment are being advised to apply instead for jobseekers’ payments if they have an adult dependant and at least one child, or if they are single and have four or more children.

The latest figures do include such individuals. A total of 283,087 people are in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment nationwide, while 25,104 are receiving a government Wage Subsidy Scheme.

Labour spokesperson on Employment and Social Protection Ged Nash, speaking today, reacted to the new figures; “We have seen an explosion in unemployment figures today, with nearly 300,000 people receiving the emergency Covid-19 Pandemic payment.

“With nearly half a million people now receiving some form of direct social assistance payment, this will put huge pressure on the public finances. And this may only be the tip of the iceberg, as the live register figures exclude the most recent closures such as construction sites.”

“To put this into context, unemployment figures which took years to fully crystallise after the financial crisis have now materialised in a matter of weeks with the coronavirus,” Nash said.

Deputy Nash believes the EU has a big part to play in supporting workers through and beyond the coronavirus crisis, citing a proposed ‘EU unemployment reinsurance scheme’ that requires funding and implementation.

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