THE number of people on the live register in Laois has risen over the last 12 months, according to the latest figures released by the Central Statistics Office.
The total figure for the county has increased from 8951 in July of last year, to 9177 this July. These additional 166 people currently signing on represents a percentage increase of almost 2%. While this increase may be small, it still reflects a grim economic reality and suggests the State still has some way to go toward recovering from the recession.
The break down of the figures for Laois sees the county town of Portlaoise rise from 4,391 in July 2011 to 4,474 this year, an increase of 83 people or 1.89%. Portarlington rose from 3,383 in July 2011 to 3399, an increase of 16 people or 0.47%. For the same period, Rathdowney has gone from 1,177 to 1244, an increase of 67 people or 5.69%.
What makes the increase particularly disappointing is the fact that the figures initially seemed to be falling. In January of this year, the total figure on the live register in Laois stood at 8,596. This broke down into 4,105 in Portlaoise, 3,337 in Portarlington and 1,154 in Rathdowney. This means that 581 additional people are now signing on since the start of the year, an increase of almost 7%. However, it is not unusal for there to be a spike in the figures during the summer months as third level students often sign on at this time of year. Last year’s figures seem to bear this out as they show a drop from July to October of 553 people, down from 8951 to 8397.