Friday, January 16, 2009
By Conor CULLEN
Wednesday January 14 2009
UNEMPLOYMENT IN the Wexford district has now reached 'crisis' point, with the latest CSO figures showing that almost 2,000 more people are now claiming unemployment benefit than at the same time last year.
The latest figures show that 342 more people joined the dole queue in Wexford town in December 2008 as unemployment hit a ten-year high. There are now 4,882 people on the Live Register in Wexford town and district, compared to 2,859 at this time last year – an increase of 1,963 people, or just over 70 per cent.
The numbers claiming unemployment benefit continue to increase every month and yet another threshold was broken in December as over 1,000 people under the age of 25 are now on the Live Register in Wexford. Of these 1,075 claimants, 684 are young men and 391 young women.
Overall, there are 3,032 men on the Live Register in Wexford town and district, compared to 1,790 women.
Labour Councillor Joe Ryan says that unemployment in the Wexford district has now reached 'crisis point' and that he is concerned that the Government has no strategy to deal with it.
Cllr. Ryan said that while the overall unemployment figures are subject to national trends, 'we are seeing a repeat of trends from the 1980s, where young people are bearing the brunt of the jobs crisis'.
'Figures only count the number without work, but its when you look closely to see who is losing their job that the reality of the crisis emerges,' said Cllr. Ryan. 'Last month the number below the age of 25 broke the 1,000 barrier, now it looks set to rise even further,' he said.
Throughout County Wexford almost 5,500 people were added to the Live Register last year. In December alone, 909 more people sought unemployment benefit, bringing the total number of countywide claimants to 12,978.
Of the four social welfare offices, the highest number are signing on in Wexford (4,822), followed by Enniscorthy (3,249), Gorey (2,607) and New Ross (2,300).
- Conor CULLEN