Fine Gael Wicklow TD and member of the Finance Committee, Simon Harris, has today (Thursday) said the latest live register figures issued by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) are a further indication that the Government is making significant progress in getting people back to work. The CSO figures show that the standardised unemployment rate is down to 13.2% and the number of people on the Live Register is at its lowest level in three and a half years.
“These latest figures from the CSO are confirmation of a positive trend in the labour market; for the last 16 months in a row, the number of people on the live register has fallen. This is a clear sign that the effect of policies being implemented by the Government is taking hold. We now need to keep our eye on the ball and ensure that every decision taken by the Government has a positive impact on job creation.
“Those who continue to criticise the Government claim the fall in live register figures can be attributed to emigration. But this is completely incorrect. There are at least 34,000 more people at work than there was this time last year; these are extra jobs in the economy, not positions being freed up through emigration. And the only way we can stem the tide of young people going overseas is to continue to focus on job creation here at home.
“The Government must now continue to set ambitious targets to accelerate job creation. The 2014 Budget contains a number of pro-jobs measures, with are expected to help create 48,000 new jobs next year. The pace of jobs growth has increased significantly over the last 12 months, with 3,000 new jobs now being created every month. This is in stark contrast to the labour market which was in free fall when Fianna Fáil left office. It’s worth remembering that just two and a half years ago, 7,000 jobs were being lost every month.
“Considerable advances have been made, but of course the number of people out of work remains far too high. We must build on the progress made over the last two years. I know that my colleague, Minister for Jobs, Richard Bruton TD, is finalising the Action Plan for Jobs 2014, which will deliver a further suite of measures to help small businesses, encourage entrepreneurship and boost exports. I am confident that 2014 can be another year of strong jobs growth across the Irish economy.