There was more positive news on the Irish economy and labour market front yesterday with the seasonally-adjusted Live Register falling 3,400 in the month to 406,200 in November, its lowest total since June 2009. Furthermore, it was the seventeenth monthly decrease in a row. The Live Register has now declined by 25,400 so far this year. <p>

With the big drop in the numbers signing on, the unemployment rate fell to 12.5% last month from 12.6% in October and 12.7% in September, and its lowest level since July 2009. Having peaked at 15.1% in February 2012, it has since then started to decline steadily, a sign that the labour market is on the road to recovery, though the jobless remains a lot higher than desirable. <p>

<B>The unemployment rate remains the key indicator as far as the economy is concerned and Wednesday’s announcement of 150 job losses at the high-profile Pfizer plant in Newbridge shows the recovery path for the labour market won’t entirely be smooth. That said, the jobless rate looks like it will end the year at 12.4% and average 13.2% for 2013 as whole, down from 14.7% in 2012 and 14.6% in 2011.
<p><h5>Alan McQuaid</h5>


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