THE latest live register figures show that there has been an increase in the number of people signing on during the summer months in Laois.
The most recent figures released by the Central Statistics Office show that number of people on the register rose from 9,217 in July to 9,232 people in August. While this extra 15 people represents a small increase of just 0.16%, the number is a significant 3.6% higher than the same period last year when Laois recorded 8,910 people on the register in August.
The break down of the figures show that the number in Portarlington fell from 3,499 in July to 3,488 in August (11 people, or 0.3%), while Rathdowney dropped from 1,244 to 1,228 (16 people, or 1.28%). However the county town has witnessed an increase, with the number signing on in Portlaoise rising from 4,474 in July to 4,516 in August (42 people, or almost 1%).
Overall, all three areas have seen a marked increase last month from August 2011, with Portarlington rising from 3,387 to 3,488 (an extra 101 people, or almost 3%), Portlaoise rising from 4,340 to 4,516 (176 people, or 4%), and Rathdowney going from 1,183 to 1,228 (45 people, nearly 4%).
The new figures suggest that unemployment in the county has risen over the past eight months. 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 636 additional people are now signing on since the start of the year, an increase of 7.3%.