THE numbers signing on the live register in Clare dipped by over 600 in September, figures from the Central Statistics Office have shown.
September is a month when the live register figures normally drop, due to seasonal factors such as people starting college courses, but a comparison with September 2014 also shows a clear improvement.
In September 2014 there were 7,922 on the live register, whereas last month the figure was 7,309.
Of the numbers currently signing on, 957 are under 25 years of age and the remaining 6,352 are 25 and over.
Most of those signing on are in Ennis (4,086), while there are 1,115 signing on in Ennistymon, 1,044 in Kilrush and 1,064 in Tulla. The numbers signing on at each social welfare office declined during September.
West Clare County Councillor Ian Lynch said that while the numbers might be pointing in the right direction, he is dubious that there has been any real improvement. “It’s very positive that people are coming off the live register, but my concern would be that people would get a false sense of security about this. The summer season was extended because September was a good month. I’m not sure are the figures really reflective of what’s happening on the ground. I don’t feel that we’re seeing the recovery that’s being talked about.”
He feels that what jobs are being created in the west of the county are largely seasonal in nature. “There haven’t been too many long term sustainable jobs created in West Clare. The tourist season has been absolutely super and in places like Doonbeg and Loop Head they have maximised the product is there and created jobs, but the jobs are seasonal and next month there might be different. Hopefully not, hopefully there are more jobs, but there are no factories opening up, nothing like that.
“I would love to say to you that there’s been a great upturn but I can’t say we’re seeing that yet. September was a good month but I think we have a small bit more to do to make sure we get those sustainable jobs.”
While he doesn’t feel the upturn has reached West Clare yet he feels the area now has quite a bit to offer and could with some focus from job creation agencies. “We’re ready to go, there’s a work force back here and I think that if we looked at targeting something back there, there’s a good labour force available. You won’t get IT back there but there are grafters back there and I’d like to see a government plan for rural Clare, which would try to bring in jobs.”
Senator Tony Mulcahy owns an industrial catering company, which deals with various companies in Shannon, and he says there is plenty of recruitment going on. “We deal on the estate quite a bit and there’s very few now that aren’t hiring. Every one is hiring a few, there could be anyone from two to ten to 20. Quite a few people are moving to Regenron (in Limerick) which is creating jobs in other companies. Obviously they are moving for higher salaries which is a positive.”
He feels that the improvement isn’t confined to multi national companies now.
“I’d say companies in the domestic economy are hiring as well. Restaurants and bars, that side of the economy is recovering as well. An increase in the amount of VAT collected can only happen if people are spending more money and an increase in the amount of income tax can only happen if more people are working. Things are going the right way,” he said.