Strong jobs growth, falling unemployment and an expanding workforce are clear indicators that there is strong momentum in the Irish economy, according to Fine Gael Cork Senator, Colm Burke.
“Recent figures from the CSO highlight the fact that the economic recovery is jobs rich.
“Year on year to the first quarter of this year almost 70,000 jobs were added to the economy. In the first quarter of 2017 a further 19,300 jobs were added.
“The rate of job creation remains very high. From a low point in 2012 almost a quarter of a million jobs have been added to the economy; more than two million people are now at work.
“The job growth is broad based; employment increased in eleven of the fourteen economic sectors during the past year. The biggest increases were in construction, where over 11,000 jobs were added and in ICT sector where 7,500 jobs were added. This will only increase with the Government’s housing plan, Rebuilding Ireland working to increase housing supply over the coming years.
“The other good news on the jobs front is that the number in fulltime employment increased by 84,200 thousand during the past year, while the number of part-time workers seeking fulltime work continues to fall. People are now finding work that is more stable and secure, offering a brighter future.
“During the economic recession the size of the workforce shrank because of migration. This trend is now reversed; during the past year the workforce increased by 35,400. Some of those forced to emigrate are returning and a rapidly expanding economy is also attracting new talent.
“The jobs figures are also reflected in the unemployment figures. In the middle of 2012 the number unemployed was over 300,000. In 2017 the Irish economy will remain among the top performers of the EU. The good news on jobs is expected to continue in 2017 and the unemployment rate which exceeded 15% in 2012 is expected to fall below 6% during the current year.
“That is a dramatic turnaround in just five years. During the past the number of long term unemployed – those unemployed for one year or more – has also fallen by 22,000.
“Only a strong economy can ensure a fair society. Fine Gael is working hard to build a fair and compassionate society with thriving communities across every region of Ireland. In order to do so we must protect and sustain the economic progress we have made, so that we can use it benefit the people who need it most.”