Unemployment figures for the summer of 2016 paint a heartier economic picture than 12 months ago, with the number of people signing on the live register in Laois having dropped by 11 percent in the last year.
The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office reveal that there were 6,882 people signing on at the county’s three social welfare offices in July, 3,871 men and 3,011 women.
Breaking this down across the different areas, there were 3,494 signing on in Portlaoise (1,971 men and 1,523 women), 2,379 in Portarlington (1,320 men and 1,059 women), and 1,009 in Rathdowney (580 men and 429 women).
This is down 856 people, or 11 percent, from last year, when there were 7,738 on the live register in Laois, 4,525 men and 3,213 women.
This broke down as 3,894 in Portlaoise (2,263 men and 1,631 women), 2,762 in Portarlington (1,624 men and 1,138 women), and 1,082 in Rathdowney (638 men and 444 women).
The latest figures do, however, show a slight increase since the start of the year, with 101 more people on the register since January.
There were 6,781 people signing on in Laois in January, 4,074 men and 2,707 women.
This broke down as 3,388 in Portlaoise (2,022 men and 1,366 women), 2,429 in Portarlington (1,468 men and 961 women), and 964 in Rathdowney (584 men and 380 women).
Of course, it is common for there to be a slight spike in the numbers on the live register during the summer period, due to students signing on before the academic term begins.
As promising as the annual drop of 11 percent is, the figure for July this year is still a whopping 300 percent what it was back during the boom of ten years ago.
Back during the Celtic Tiger year of 2006, there were just 2,281 people signing on in Laois, 1,164 men and 1,117 women.
This broke down as 1,014 in Portlaoise (515 men and 499 women), 892 in Portarlington (442 men and 450 women), and 375 in Rathdowney (207 men and 168 women).