Interesting to read that the Republic of Ireland has seen unemployment hit a eight year high as the property boom goes bust.
A total of 8,500 people joined the unemployment register last month, the largest monthly increase on record, bringing the seasonally adjusted number to 187,900, a level not seen since August 1999.
The data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that 16,300 people have signed on in the first two months of 2008. Analysts said the figures showed an increasing number of job losses in the construction sector, with about 7,000 of those signing on for the first time last month being men. That confirms the position in the quarterly national household survey, published earlier this week, that employment in the construction sector started a downward trend in the latter part of 2007. "It appears from the Live Register data that some 20,000 jobs have already been lost in the construction sector and it is inevitable that further jobs will follow," said Fergal O’Brien, an economist with employers’ lobby group Ibec.
Having broken the 5 per cent level in January, the unemployment rate at the end of February was 5.2 per cent. Economists now expect that unemployment will exceed 5.5 per cent before the end of the year, with the more bearish expecting the figure to top 6 per cent. However, that would still lag the euro zone average, which stands at 7.1 per cent.
Naturally I take no pleasure from any of this, and I am sure that the same situation will become apparent across the UK as well. However the Irish economy has imported a disproportionately large number of Eastern Europeans relative to the total population size and I assume it is these people who are now seeking employment as the building sector contracts which makes me wonder… will they stay, or will they go?