ESRI predicts jobs crisis will force 120,000 to quit Ireland

AS many as 120,000 workers will quit the country over the next two years, driven out by the jobs crisis, a report out yesterday said.

The Government think tank, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), said 70,000 left the country in the year to April 2010 and warns that a further 50,000 will have gone by April 2011.

In its latest economic forecast the ESRI says the worst is over for the economy but the “modest” recovery out up to the end of 2011 will be characterised by a failure of the economy to produce any boost to the jobs market.

In its latest quarterly economic commentary the ESRI expects employment to stabilise at 1.85 million for this year and next, down from a figure of over 2.1m in 2008.

Unemployment is set to peak this year at 13.25% or 286,00, falling just marginally to 280,000 by the end of 2011, it said.

Those figures depend on the outflow of thousands of workers over the two years, Jean Goggin, a co-author of the report said.

A large number of those leaving will be made up of foreign workers forced to return home, with a significant component also comprising Irish people left with no option but to find new work opportunities for themselves abroad.

Apart from the jobs famine the other side of that crisis is the growing numbers now categorised as long-term unemployed.

That figure has gone up from 2.2% last year to 5.3% at present. Those out of work for over a year are classified as long-term unemployed.

Head of research at the ESRI, Alan Barrett, described those figures as worrying and called for immediate initiatives.

“As the experience of long-term unemployment for an individual is a predictor of future labour market difficulties, this trend in longer-term unemployment is a concern in terms of the impacts on individuals and also for the economy more broadly if it results in structural unemployment,” he said

While community projects may provide a buffer in the short term Barrett said research has shown the most successful format is to provide training to make people more employable.

In that context he said the call from the Construction Industry Federation to invest more in the sector, because it created jobs, was coming at the problem in the wrong way, he said.

People needed to be up skilled to meet the demands of a modern economy.

The “research” in that area has shown that to be so, he said.

Another added concern is that the figures available show “it is clear that the recession has impacted severely on the labour market outcomes of younger people”, according to the commentary.


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