Laois has recorded another yearly dip in the number of people signing on for social welfare, with the numbers on the live register down almost 16 percent in the past 12 months.
The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office reveal that there were 5,223 people signing on in Laois in September of this year, down 982 people, or 15.8 percent, from September last year.
However, caution should be exercised when viewing this as necessarily meaning more people are back in work, as those on training and employment schemes are not included in the live register figures.
Breaking the September figure down across the county, there were 2,629 signing on in Portlaoise (1,500 men and 1,129 women), 1,892 in Portarlington (1,050 men and 842 women), and 702 in Rathdowney (384 men and 318 women).
This is down 15.8 percent from last year, with 6,205 people signing on in Laois in September of 2016, 3,571 men and 2,634 women. Breaking these numbers down across the county, there were 3,161 signing on in Portlaoise (1,830 men and 1,331 women), 2,139 in Portarlington (1,219 men and 920 women), and 905 in Rathdowney (522 men and 383 women).
The September figure is also down 498 people, or close to nine percent, from August.
There were 5,721 people on the live register in Laois in August of this year, 3,156 men and 2,565 women. This broke down to 2,859 in Portlaoise (1,604 men and 1,255 women), 2,104 in Portarlington (1,138 men and 966 women), and 758 in Rathdowney (414 men and 344 women).
As always, a look back to the state of things a decade ago reveals that Ireland still has some way to go to getting back to a full economic recovery, with the latest figure a considerable 215 percent of what it was in the boom year of 2007, when there were just 2,429 people on the local live register, 1,417 men men and 1,012 women.
This broke down as 1,090 in Portlaoise (627 men and 463 women), 939 in Portarlington (547 men and 392 women), and 400 in Rathdowney (243 men and 157 women).