No room for complacency as unemployment drops to 7.9%

24 May 2016

Labour Dublin West Deputy Joan Burton has welcomed the CSO’s latest Quarterly National Household Survey figures which show that in April unemployment dropped to 7.9%.

But she warned that there can be no room for complacency in particular, as regards, more vulnerable unemployed groups including the long-term unemployed, older unemployed people and younger early school leavers.

Deputy Burton commented, “It is very encouraging to see that the comprehensive jobs policies that the previous government put in place continue to drive unemployment down – now below the milestone 8% mark.   

“In the first quarter of the year, unemployment was its lowest since 2008. This means there has now been 14 consecutive quarters of employment growth. The CSO figures also show that 12 of the 14 sectors across the economy experienced annual employment growth.

“In addition, the numbers of people employed is now just below the 2 million mark and it’s estimated we will break this hugely significant threshold in Q2.

“This means that the level of employment is at its highest level since the first quarter of 2009 and is another sign of the success of the Action Plan for Jobs and the Pathways to Work programmes.

“But there is no room for complacency in this regard. In particular, we must make sure that people who are long-term unemployed, young early school leavers and older people who have lost their jobs and are finding it harder to get back into the workforce are given absolute priority in job creation programmes and all necessary training supports.

“Some older people who have been made unemployed have described how they have in effect been forced into an unwanted “early retirement” as they are finding it very difficult to get back in to the workforce. 

“Younger early school leavers are also a group that are especially vulnerable to unemployment and targeted supports for this group must be at the forefront of current job creation policies.

“Supporting more vulnerable unemployed people is absolutely vital to ensure a broad-based recovery were unemployment does not become entrenched in certain age cohorts or areas of the country.

“It will also be critical for ensuring a broadly-based and lasting economic recovery.”

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