Ireland’s unemployment rate is now 12.2 percent, according to the latest figures released by the Central Statistics Office on Friday.
The country has not seen this level of joblessness since April 1995, and 435,735 are now signing on for the dole (unemployment benefits), which represents an 83 percent hike in the past 12 months.
Ireland’s economic woes have been well documented. The collapse of the real estate market and the country’s high labor costs have been at the heart of the problem, with the unraveling of the Irish banking system adding to the nation’s woes.
The heaviest job losses have occurred in the construction industry, which once contributed close to 10 percent of the workforce.
The manufacturing industry has also suffered, with the spiraling costs of competition forcing many multinationals to close or scale down their Irish plants in favor of locations with cheaper labor costs.
Though the rate of unemployment is not rising as fast as it had been, it could hit 13 percent before year's end and some economists have predicted the figure to rise as high as 15 percent during 2010.
The record level of joblessness in the Ireland was recorded in December 1985, when 17.3 percent of the workforce was unemployed.