The slow but steady economic recovery of the county continues with the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office revealing that there has been a drop in the number of people signing on for Social Welfare.
The figures show that there were 7,899 people signing on at the county’s three Social Welfare offices in October, 4,729 men and 3,170 women. This broke down as 3,885 in Portlaoise (2,343 men and 1,542 women), 2,942 in Portarlington (1,737 men and 1,205 women), and 1,072 in Rathdowney (649 men and 423 women).
This is down 187 from September, when there were 8,086 people signing on in the county, 4,887 men and 3,199 women. This broke down as 4,010 in Portlaoise (2,439 men and 1,571 women), 3,000 in Portarlington (1,787 men and 1,213 women), and 1,076 in Rathdowney (661 men and 415 women).
The latest figure also reveals that there has been a significant drop of 8.4 percent in the local live register over the last 12 months, with 8,628 people signing on in October 2013, 5,372 men and 3,256 women. This broke down as 4,306 in Portlaoise (2,662 men and 1,644 women), 3,274 in Portarlington (2,045 men and 1,229 women), and 1,048 in Rathdowney (665 men and 383 women).
However, as a reminder of how far the country has slipped since the boom years, the latest figures are almost four times that recorded back in 2004, when there were just 1,996 people signing on in Laois. The difference between the sexes was also not as pronounced, with the number of men and women almost equal (1,069 men and 927 women).