‘Policy works’ as jobless rate falls below 10%

The Government has welcomed unemployment dropping under 10% for the first time since the recession and reiterated that the number of jobs lost during the crash will eventually be replaced.

‘Policy works’ as jobless rate falls below 10%

With unemployment now at 9.9%, the Coalition yesterday claimed it had reached its 100,000 extra jobs target — a year and a half ahead of schedule.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said there was an excitement around the capital with start-up companies. But he also emphasised the Government wanted those who had emigrated for work purposes to return home.

“We need to bring back so many people who have left.”

Mr Bruton also said the tendency for part-time work was falling away with people now being hired in full-time positions.


Central Statistics Office figures released show there was an annual increase of 41,300 in the numbers employed in the first quarter of 2015, bringing total employment to 1,929,500.

But while the unemployment rate dropped from 10.4% to 9.9% over the first quarter this year, there are still 212,800 out of work.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Coalition wanted to create more jobs and bring Ireland towards a point where 2.1m people would be in work by 2018.

Announcing the creation of 100 new jobs at US software firm Qualtrics, in Dublin, he added: “Great credit is due to the Irish people who have responded to the unprecedented unemployment challenge with great determination to turn this country around.”

Ministers pointed to their Action Plan for Jobs which had promised an extra 100,000 jobs by the end of 2016 but which they stressed had now been delivered well ahead of schedule.

The CSO figures show employment increased in 10 of the 14 economic sectors over the year, with construction and industry seeing the largest increases.

Crucially, the long-term unemployment rate also decreased from 7.3% to 5.9% over the year. This is the 11th quarter in succession where unemployment has declined on an annual basis.

Isme welcomed the increase in job creation but expressed concern at the continued rise in costs for small and medium-sized enterprises who are trying to create jobs.

“With SME business confidence, profitability and sales expectations all down, owner-managers are reticent to take the risk of adding to their workforce, especially with the pre-election promises of ‘wage increases for everyone,” said Isme chief Mark Fielding.

Fianna Fáil said the increased employment was good but there were still signs of an urban-rural divide in the recovery.

Jobs spokesman Dara Calleary said: “While the creation of any new jobs is welcome, it is important the recovery is spread right across the country, and unfortunately that simply is not the case.”

But the minister said 60% of economic growth was taking place outside Dublin.

Nonetheless, Mr Calleary argued that specific sectors needed to be targeted and certain workforce types upskilled.“More action is needed to ensure broader job creation possibilities, rather than the continued focus on high-end, high-skilled positions.


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