Long-term joblessness above average

Ireland may be emerging from its economic woes, but it now has the second- highest percentage of long-term unemployed among the EU 15 countries.

The Nevin Economic Research Institute said that, by the end of the first quarter of this year, 61.4% of unemployed people had been looking for work for more than a year.

Greece, at 71.4%, is the only country in the EU 15 to have a worse percentage.

Just 18.1% of Sweden’s unemployed can be classed as long-term, while in Britain the figure is 37.4%. The average for all of the EU countries is 48.9%.

Just six years ago, in the second quarter of 2008, the figure for Ireland, 29.4%, was well below the 37.6% average. It was just over a year later, in the fourth quarter of 2009, that Ireland passed the EU average. It has remained well above it ever since.

“Prolonged absence from the job market is associated with lower lifetime-earning potential and a myriad of negative social and personal health,” said Darach McCarthy, a research and administration officer at the institute.

“While the unemployment rate has decreased significantly over the past 18 months, Ireland’s performance on this indicator suggests a sustained increase in the rate of job creation is needed and funding for relevant work place training should be a priority.”

There were 187,598 long-term claimants on the live register in August.

Recently, junior social protection minister Kevin Humphreys said employers are reluctant to hire the long-term unemployed.


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