The numbers signing on in Laois have dropped by 10.5 percent within the last 12 months, with close to 1,000 fewer people on the live register in January this year than was recorded at the start of 2014.
The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office reveal that there were 7,777 people signing on at the county’s three Social Welfare offices in January, 4,738 men and 3,039 women. This broke down as 3,852 in Portlaoise (2,341 men and 1,511 women), 2,866 in Portarlington (1,751 men and 1,115 women), and 1,059 in Rathdowney (646 men and 413 women).
This means 2015 begins with a healthier picture than revealed by the figure for 12 months ago. There were 918 fewer people on the register in January of this year than in January 2014 when there were 8,695 people signing on in Laois, 5,423 men and 3,272 women. This broke down as 4,498 in Portlaoise (2,718 men and 1,680 women), 3,214 in Portarlington (2,009 men and 1,205 women), and 1,083 in Rathdowney (696 men and 387 women).
The January figure is up slightly from the number signing on in Laois at the end of 2014, with 38 more people on the register. The figures for December last showed 7,739 people on the register, 4,709 men and 3,030 women. This was 3,791 in Portlaoise (2,310 men and 1,481 women), 2,897 in Portarlington (1,757 men and 1,140 women), and 1,051 in Rathdowney (642 men and 409 women).
Although the 12-month drop is to be welcomed, a look back at the boom years shows there is still close to a whopping 280 percent more people currently signing on than in January 2005, when there were 2,052 on the register, 1,154 men and 898 women. There were 914 in Portlaoise, 781 in Portarlington, and 357 in Rathdowney.