Fine Gael Meath West TD and Chairman of the Oireachtas Jobs Committee, Damien English, has today (Wednesday) said the latest Live Register figures are a great start to the New Year on the jobs market. The figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that the number of people on the Live Register has dropped for the 18th month in a row, and is now at its lowest level for four and a half years.
“These figures underline the fact that a very positive trend has been established, with the number of people out of work falling month on month. We know that this is due to new jobs being created in the real economy, with 58,000 more people joining the workforce over the last 12 months. We must build on this progress in the year ahead.
“Coupled with the huge demand for Irish bonds in this week’s move back into the international money markets, these positive jobs figures represent a great start to the New Year. We need to build on our improved reputation abroad and the feeling that things are getting better here at home.
“I am pleased to see that there has been a drop in the number of people who are long-term unemployed. But I believe we need to make further progress on this area in particular. The Jobs Plus Initiative, under which the Government covers a quarter of what it costs to hire someone who has been on the Live Register for more than 12 months, is helping to make a dent in the problem. But we must also continue to hone the Pathways to Work programme to ensure every possible support is being provided to help people get back to work.
“Unemployment is on a downward trajectory, with particular successes in the IT, agri-food and tourism sectors. This is very encouraging, but the Government fully recognises that unemployment rates remain far too high and that we have a long way to go. We need to get key areas – such as retail, construction and domestic banking – back to sustainable levels. Through the Action Plan for Jobs, led by Minister Richard Bruton TD, we have the first cross-government approach to job creation, and I am confident that this year’s Action Plan will contain a further suite of measures to broaden jobs growth.
“We’re currently experiencing the fastest rate of jobs growth since 2007. When this Government took office, nearly 7,000 private sector jobs were being lost every month. Now, almost 5,000 are being created every month. I am confident that we can accelerate this progress in the year ahead.”