The latest live register figures for Laois show that the county has experienced a 16 percent drop in the numbers signing on in the county over the past 12 months, but the current figure is still 160 percent what it was a decade ago.
The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office reveal that in January of this year there were 4,864 on the live register in Laois, 2,773 men and 2,091 women.
Breaking these figures down across the county, there were 2,437 people signing on in Portlaoise (1,394 men and 1,043 women), 1,753 in Portarlington (1,002 men and 751 women), and 674 in Rathdowney (377 men and 297 women).
This is down 947, or 16.2 percent, from the same month last year, January 2017, when there were 5,811 people signing on at Laois’ three Social Welfare offices, 3,346 men and 2,465 women.
This broke down as 2,999 in Portlaoise (1,749 men and 1,250 women), 1,971 in Portarlington (1,120 men and 851 women), and 841 in Rathdowney (477 men and 364 women).
Last year’s figure was itself down 970, or 14.3 percent, from the same time the previous year, January 2016, when there were 6,781 people on the live register in Laois, 4,074 men and 2,707 women.
A look back to a decade ago shows that the current figure of 4,864 is up 1,834, or 60.5 percent, from what it was back during the start of the recession.
In January 2008, there were 3,030 on the live register in Laois, 1,920 men and 1,110 women. This broke down as 1,336 in Portlaoise (857 men and 479 women), 1,228 in Portarlington (773 men and 455 women), and 466 in Rathdowney (290 men and 176 women).