In the context of yesterday’s announcement of job losses at TalkTalk there has been a lot of discussion about the high unemployment levels in Waterford. Unfortunately we have few data to investigate such claims. Official unemployment figures based on the Quarterly National Household Survey are only available at the regional and national level. The CSO provides figures at sub-regional level, but only absolute numbers (no rates). Between December 2007 and August 2011, the number of people on the Waterford Live Register rose by 124% (from 5633 to 12,604) In an earlier post on this blog (“sub-regional variation in unemployment in Ireland”) I attempted to analyse sub-regional variations of unemployment rates based on live register figures. Again, the methodology does not allow us to calculate actual unemployment rates, but they do serve to establish relative positions of live register office areas. Using the same methodology, I took a look at the relative position of the Waterford Live Register Office area. In August 2011, Waterford had the 23rd highest “unemployment rate” of over 120 Live Register areas, with a rate well above the national average. The top ten areas included Cavan, Dungloe, Dunfanaghy, Gorey, Bullybofey, Finglas, Belmullet, Letterkenny, Longford and Tralee. The 575 TalkTalk redundancies would bring Waterford up to position 14, ceteris paribus (and assuming that all employees would sign on at the Waterford office).

 Chris van Egeraat