Focus on long-term jobless as economy delivers jobs

Official figures show that the economy is producing lots of jobs, but still struggles to deliver jobs in parts of the country outside Dublin, a leading analyst has said.

Alan McQuaid, chief economist at Merrion Capital, said the CSO’s Quarterly National Household Survey published yesterday was “again very positive”, as 46,900 more people were in work in the first quarter this year than a year earlier.

The CSO figures showed there are now over 1.97m people at work, still short of the record of over 2.2m set in 2007.

The CSO also revised down its estimate for April’s unemployment rate to 7.9%. Employment rose in 12 of the 14 industries the CSO tracks.

Long-term unemployment fell, but still accounts for just over 56% of all people out of work. The youth jobless rate – defined as 15-to-24 year-olds out of work – fell sharply, to under 17% from 21.5% a year earlier.

The South-East, at 12.5%, has the highest jobless rate. It is followed by the Midlands, at 11.6%, and the Borders, Midland, and Western area with a rate of 9.9%.

The West region has a jobless rate of 10.2%; the Border region has a rate of 8.6%; while the State-wide average is at 8.4%.

Unemployment in the Mid-West region is at 7.9%, the Southern and Eastern area is at 7.8%, and the South-West has a jobless rate of 7.7%.

Dublin competes with the Mid-East for the lowest jobless rates at 6.9% and 5.9%, respectively. Mr McQuaid said parts of the country outside the capital are lagging “the Dublin experience”.

“You would expect that given the levels of FDI in Dublin. It’s an area that the Government is aware of and needs to address,” the economist said. The issue includes broadband provision in rural Ireland, which is “a must have”, he said.


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