IRELAND’S rate of unemployment dropped for the 14th straight month in August, figures showed yesterday, yet the level remains elevated at 13.4 per cent.
The country’s statistics office said that unemployment only slipped slightly in the month, from 13.5 per cent in July. However, it is down sharply from 14.6 per cent at the same time last year.
The number of people claiming jobless benefits declined by 3,400 between July and August, the Central Statistics Office said, down to a seasonally-adjusted 415,300. The unadjusted figure is 435,280.
“Although those numbers remain far too high, real progress is being made,” responded government minister Joan Burton.
Separate figures released yesterday showed business activity in Ireland’s service sector at its fastest rate of growth since before the financial crisis, last month.
A purchasing managers’ index published by Markit and Investec said services recorded a score of 61.6 in August, from 57.6 in July – the highest since February 2007.
However, despite the rosier news emerging from Ireland, Investec’s Philip O’Sullivan warned that the PMI score was helped by hot August weather boosting tourism.