THE number of people out of work in Limerick has risen once again month-on-month.
But the overall numbers on the live register has fallen in Limerick by 8% year-on-year.
Figures just released by the Central Statistics Office reveal that 323 people joined the live register in Limerick during the month of December, with the total number unemployed now standing at 17,539 county-wide.
The rise is most pronounced in the city area, with some 12,402 people queuing for payments - a rise of 188 people month-on-month.
The rise comes in spite of spite of retailers taking on extra staff in what is traditionally the busiest retail period of the year.
Meanwhile, across the county, the number of people signing on in Kilmallock now numbers 2,283 people - up from 2,243 at the end of November.
In Newcastle West, some 2,854 people are now claiming social welfare support - up slightly from 2,759 in November.
And in Listowel’s office, used by many people around the West Limerick/North Kerry border, there are 2,744 people on the live register, a rise from 2,676 last month.
Local Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan preferred to focus on the 8% fall.
Last December, the live register numbered 13,504 in Co Limerick.
Although the fall may be down to emigration, Ms O’Sullivan said: “This is welcome news and shows that the city is attracting investment – both foreign and domestic. While the reduction is very welcome there are still more than 12,000 people signing on the live register in Limerick, and we must continue to work to see find good quality employment for those looking for work,” she said.
However, she insisted that job creation remains the government’s “number one priority”.
“I will be working to maintain momentum on the construction and refurbishment projects that are in the pipeline as part of regeneration. This will create job opportunities in the construction sector and the social clauses that are now part of this will ensure local people can benefit from this economic activity,” she said.