THERE has been a big drop in Limerick’s live register figures this month, new statistics show.
Figures released this week by the Central Statistics Office show there were 17,061 people claiming social welfare in Co Limerick at the end of March.
This is a drop from 17,430 people claiming at the end of February.
In the city area, the number of people out of work has fallen from 12,357 to 12,144 people.
And in Newcastle West, that figure has fallen from 2,805 people to 2,713 people.
Over in Kilmallock, there was also a slight fall, with 2,204 people now queuing for benefits, compared to 2,268 at the end of March.
In Listowel’s welfare office, used by many on the West Limerick/North Kerry border, there was a similar fall, with 2,755 people claiming.
At the end of February, this number stood at 2,824 people.
The drop has been welcomed by Fianna Fail’s local TD Willie O’Dea. But he warned that the drop does not reveal “the full extent of the unemployment here”.
“There are more than 85,000 people on Back to Education, Back to Work and other Activation Schemes, however the official figures mask this reality as they are not included in the Live Register stats,” he said.
“Activation programmes such as Job Bridge, Job Path are the Government’s attempt to make it look as if they’re making a concerted effort to get people back into the workplace.
“We’ve heard from ministers time and time again that job creation is this Government’s number one priority, and although the Live Register figures are falling, they’re not reducing at any significant rate.”
Nationally, the number of people out of work now stands at 391,232, a fall from almost 400,000 last month.