Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Measurement Issues in the QHNS and the Live Register

A number of measurement issues related to the QHNS and the Live Register have been noted on this blog before. The QHNS is the official measure of unemploymemt in Ireland and it is based on more economically meaningful (ILO) definitions (compared to the Live Register). However, it needs to be handled with care because anyone working for pay or profit for one hour a week or more is classified as employed.

The Live Register is a more up-to-date source of information than the QHNS, but it is not purposefully designed to measure unemployment. It includes part-time workers (those who work up to three days a week), as well as seasonal and casual workers entitled to Jobseekers Benefit or Allowance. A press release from the Department of Social and Family Affairs (from earlier this month) highlights another measurement issue related to the Live Register:

"the Live Register figures published by the CSO each month includes all claims awaiting decision. Once a claim is registered, it is counted for Live Register purposes regardless of whether the individual is in receipt of Jobseeker’s Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance or awaiting a decision on their claim. This means that the Live Register figure of 423,639 for September 2009, published by the CSO, includes some 14,300 Jobseeker’s Benefit claims and 43,900 Jobseeker’s Allowance claims which were awaiting decision at the end of September."


Martin Ryan said...

So how long does it take to make a decision on a claim? According to a recent press release from the Dept. of Social and Family Affairs, the current national average processing times is just over 3 weeks for Jobseekers Benefit and 7 weeks for Jobseekers Allowance. Also, over half a million claims were processed in Social Welfare offices in first 10 months of the year. A table showing the geographical breakdown of processing times is available in the press release.

Kevin Denny said...

I have often wondered how useful the Live Register data is as a leading indicator of QNHS unemployment?

Martin Ryan said...

I can't see any information about what percentage of claims are rejected, unfortunately. It's also clear that there is a lot of geographic variability in processing times, especially for Jobseeker's Allowance.