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Sunday 21 September 2014

Unemployment at lowest level in over five years

Published 04/09/2014 | 02:30

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Unemployment levels are at their lowest rate in 5 years
Unemployment levels are at their lowest rate in 5 years

UNEMPLOYMENT is the lowest it has been in five and a half years, after the numbers signing on the Live Register fell by 2,900 last month alone.

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New figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that the unemployment rate is now down to 11.2pc, its lowest level since March 2009.

That means that unemployment has now fallen below the eurozone average of 11.5pc, though it's still higher than the entire EU average of 10.2pc.

Tanaiste and Social Protection Minister Joan Burton welcomed the fall in joblessness from its 15.1pc peak in early 2012.

There were 398,325 people signing on the Live Register in August which is almost 37,000 fewer than a year earlier, and when seasonally adjusted the numbers signing on fell by 2,900 to 380,100 in just one month.

"These statistics, together with the latest Quarterly National Household Survey figures published recently, show we are succeeding in tackling unemployment and that our economy and jobs market are recovering," said Ms Burton.

She said she wants the forthcoming budget to include a programme to deliver jobs country-wide with additional incentives for employers to recruit from the Live Register, such as the JobsPlus scheme which had helped 2,725 long-term unemployed back to work since last year.

Merrion stockbrokers analyst Alan McQuaid said this was the 26th month in a row that the numbers on the Live Register had fallen and if this continued unemployment should fall below 11pc by year-end.

"However in a sign that there can be no room for complacency in official circles, the number of long-term claimants on the Live Register remains high at 187,598," he said.

However this was over 9,000 less than a year earlier.

But the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) warned that calls for wage increases from Labour ministers were having a negative impact on job prospects.

Its chief executive, Mark Fielding, called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to rein in the perpetrators, warning that "the pace of job creation is glacially slow, not helped by calls for wage increases".

Irish Independent

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