South-East unemployment rate is one-third above national average

21 May 2019

Today’s CSO Labour Force survey indicates South-East’s unemployment rate is one-third above national average

‘Use €100 billion European Social Fund Plus to tackle Wexford, Waterford, Carlow and Kilkenny unemployment blackspot’ – Nunan

Sheila Nunan, Labour’s candidate in Friday’s European elections in the South Euro-constituency has called on the government to prioritise the use of €100 billion ‘European Social Fund Plus’ (ESF+) funding to  tackle unemployment in the South-East region, as the latest Central Statistics Labour Force Survey, published this morning, indicates that unemployment in the South East, at 6.7%, was one-third higher than the national average of 4.8%, in the the first quarter of 2019.

Ms Nunan said:

‘It is a very positive development that unemployment in South-East – Wexford, Waterford, Carlow and Kilkenny – is now at its lowest level for many years but it is deeply worrying that the region’s unemployment rate, at 6.7%, is one-third higher than the national average of 4.8%.

‘The South-East is Ireland’s unemployment blackspot: whereas one in 11 of all people in the state live in the South-East, one in 8 of all people who are unemployed live in this region.

‘With all its talk of nearing full employment, the government seems to think that it is ‘job done’ as far as unemployment is concerned. The reality is that Ireland’s employment performance is just about average when compared to other European countries. The latest Eurostat data employment rate survey shows that 15 other member states had more people at work than Ireland in 2018 and that nine of the other 22 for which data was available had lower unemployment rates in March.

‘One of the most important issues on the EU’s agenda over the next year to 18 months will be the future of the European Structural and Investment Funds, including the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) over the 2021-2027 period. The European Parliament is proposing a total budget of €107 billion for the ESF+, with two-thirds of this (€675 million) proposed for employment and social innovation.

‘The worrying fact is that the government’s flagship initiative on jobs, its Future Jobs Ireland 2019 initiative, launched in March, doesn’t even mention the ESF+.

 ‘Securing the maximum possible draw-down of European Structural and Investment Funds including the ESF+ for regions such as the South-East, which has yet to feel the full benefits of the economic recovery will be one of my immediate priority as MEP’ Ms Nunan said.

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