A record 2.61 million people are now in employment, with 100,000 new jobs created in the last 12 months, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator Garrett Ahearn, Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment, said figures released today show that employment is at record levels.
“In order to fully appreciate this progress, we need to look at where we have come from. Unemployment fell from a record 15.9% when Fine Gael first entered Government, to just 5% at the start of 2020. Then the pandemic hit with huge consequences for workers, employers and businesses all over the world.
“By introducing the PUP and EWSS payments, we supported those most affected by unemployment and enforced reduced working hours. At the peak of the pandemic, in April 2020, over one million people were in receipt of one of these payments. Right up until the start of 2022, over 340,000 people were still relying on a payment.
“Today, the standard unemployment rate is now just 4.1%, with only 110,700 people unemployed. 250,000 jobs have been created since before the pandemic. Most job growth was in the regions, with 80,000 new jobs coming on stream in areas outside of Dublin in 2022.
“In addition, youth unemployment (15-24 years) has halved to 8.6%, from 21% in April 2021.
“By contrast, the UK is still below pre-pandemic employment levels,” Senator Ahearn noted. “The record level of employment we are now experiencing are a direct result of Fine Gael policies which are consistently pro-enterprise and pro-business.
“When Fine Gael entered government, we promised to create 100,000 jobs over five years. To date, we have actually created an incredible 730,000 jobs – providing almost three quarters of a million people with steady income, career aspirations and security for their and their families’ futures.
“Not only is Fine Gael focused on growing employment, but we have also strengthened workers’ rights by introducing statutory sick pay, providing a framework around which requesting and approving remote working will be based and introducing an additional public holiday.
“We will continue to face our challenges, but with over two and a half million people now at work and a strong economy, we will face them with growing confidence and security.”