Welcome upturn - Unemployment rate falls

THE persistent fall in the number of people registered as unemployed must be welcomed. Figures published yesterday show unemployment stood at 7.1% this January, down from 8.5% just 12 months ago. 

The number of people unemployed is dropping by, on average, 2,500 every month. In the last 12 months, the number of people out of work fell by 29,800, from 184,600 to 154,800 this month, a reduction of 16%.

By any criteria, these are impressive figures. In the context to the economic whirlwind that swept the country over the last decade, they are spectacular.

That very welcome upturn is seen at its sharpest in the construction sector. Less than a decade ago, the number of people directly employed in that booming sector passed 270,000. After our economy imploded, that figure fell below 100,000. Today, the sector is crying out for workers and is trying to entice those who fled this country in the last number of years to return and fill vacant positions.

This upturn is more than welcome as is the opportunity to create high-quality, secure jobs that pay a decent wage.

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