The number of unemployed rose in June by 2,900, pushing the standardized unemployment rate from 14.1 per cent to 14.2 per cent. Adjusted figures have shown that 446,800 people signed on in the month of June, a 0.7 per cent increase from May.
Worryingly, the number of long term claimants, namely those who have been on the register for over a year, saw an increase from 30 per cent last year to 40 per cent in this year. This trend has prompted the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to call on the Government to begin a reskilling programme aimed at those unemployed for over a year.
Retail sales continue to lag. There has been a significant decrease of five per cent from 2010 to 2011. An increase in the motor trade by 13 per cent looks encouraging on the outside, but it is purely down to the Government’s car scrappage scheme.
Bloxham chief economist Alan McQuaid opined that the latest figures revealed that a “two-speed economy is still very much in place”.
“The export sector continues to do very well, helped by improved competitiveness and strong global demand,” he added. “However, the domestic side of the economy continues to struggle and, with the scrappage scheme for cars coming to an end, the retail sector looks like it is set to remain under severe pressure, in the short term at least.”