By Ryan Dunne firstname.lastname@example.org @laoisnews
There has been a drop of 14 percent in the numbers signing on in County Laois over the last 12 months, although the current figure is still a whopping 257 percent what it was during the Celtic Tiger prosperity of a decade ago.
The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office reveal that there were 5,609 people signing on at the county’s three social welfare offices in April of this year, 3,180 men and 2,429 women.
This broke down to 2,895 in Portlaoise (1,667 men and 1,228 women), 1,940 in Portarlington (1,083 men and 857 women), and 774 in Rathdowney (430 men and 344 women).
This is down 923, or 14.1 percent, from April 2016, when there were 6,532 people signing on at the county’s three social welfare offices, 3,844 men and 2,688 women.
This broke down to 3,283 signing on in Portlaoise (1,936 men and 1,347 women), 2,318 in Portarlington (1,347 men and 971 women), and in Rathdowney there were 931 on the register (561 men and 370 women).
The latest figure shows a steady annual decline, with 7,388 people on the live register in April 2015 (4,457 men and 2,931 women), and 8,476 recorded in April 2014 (5,184 men and 3,292 women).
The figure for April of this year is also down slightly from the previous month, with 5,639 people signing on in Laois in March 2017, 3,232 men and 2,407 women.
This broke down to 2,894 in Portlaoise (1,679 men and 1,215 women), 1,960 in Portarlington (1,115 men and 845 women), and 785 in Rathdowney (438 men and 347 women).
There is still some way to go before the State enjoys the economic stability last witnessed back during the boom years, with a look back to April of 2007 revealing there were just 2,182 on the live register, 1,206 men and 976 women.
This broke down to 935 in Portlaoise (514 men and 421 women), 896 in Portarlington (490 men and 406 women), and 351 in Rathdowney (202 men and 149 women).
This year's April figure is 257 percent what it was in 2007.