Laois has seen a 14 percent drop in the number of people signing on the live register within the last 12 months, although the latest figure is still over two and half times what it was a decade ago.
The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office reveal that there were 5,651 people signing on at the county’s three social welfare offices in May, 3,206 men and 2,445 women.
There were 2,882 in Portlaoise (1,648 men and 1,234 women), 1,999 in Portarlington (1,128 men and 871 women), and 770 in Rathdowney (430 men and 340 women).
The current figure is down 913, or 14 percent, from the same time last year, with the figures for May, 2016, showing 6,564 people on the live register, 3,826 men and 2,738 women. This broke down as 3,312 in Portlaoise (1,936 men and 1,376 women), 2,306 in Portarlington (1,321 men and 985 women), and 946 in Rathdowney (569 men and 377 women).
The May figure does represent a slight rise of 42 people from the previous month, April, when there were 5,609 people signing on, 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).
However, as always a look back to the days of the Celtic Tiger makes for sobering reading, with the current number a whopping 268 percent what it was back during the boom year of 2006.
There were just 2,103 people signing on in Laois in May, 2006, 1,164 men and 939 women. This broke down as 948 in Portlaoise (531 men and 417 women), 816 in Portarlington (429 men and 387 women), and 339 in Rathdowney (204 men and 135 women).