Figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) yesterday (Tuesday) revealed that the number of people signing onto the live register in the south east rose by 1257 people during May.

Since May 2007, the numbers signing on across the region has risen by 7,538, the second largest increase in the southern and eastern region during that period, Dublin’s increase of 8,782 representing the biggest rise.

An analysis of the town-by-town figures in the region revealed the following:

* There were 6,854 signing onto the live register in Waterford city last month, which compared with 5,258 in May ’07.

* Some 1,125 individuals were on the register in Dungarvan in May, a rise of 219 on the previous May’s figure of 906.

* New Ross also experienced a sharp rise in the numbers signing on, as 1,723 did so last month, a significant increase on the May ’07 tally of 1,163.

* Carrick-on-Suir, a town with a recent history of high unemployment, also experienced an increase, with 1,103 signing on last month in comparison to 850 in May 2007.

The national picture represents the highest numbers signing onto the live register since January 1999.

“The Government claims rising unemployment is an international phenomenon, but job losses are actually falling across most of Europe,” according to Fine Gael employment spokesman Leo Varadkar.

“These figures should be setting off alarm bells in the Government. However, it does not even seem to realise there is a problem.

“We simply cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the increasing numbers out of work. I believe we need a Government-led strategy to turn the situation around.”