Tuesday 20 February 2018

Jobless rate stuck at 9.7pc as fall stalls

Employment Minister Ged Nash
Employment Minister Ged Nash

Colm Kelpie and Adrian Weckler

The unemployment rate held steady last month at 9.7pc as the number out of work dropped by just 500.

But the Government hailed the figures as showing the lowest jobless level since 2009.

The jobless number dropped to 208,100 last month - down almost 36,000 compared with the same period last year.

Employment Minister Ged Nash said that while the percentage figure remained the same as the revised May figure, it was down significantly on the same period last year, when the unemployment rate stood at 11.4pc.

"There are 35,900 more people at work now compared to June last year. This is very welcome news for those individuals, their families and their wider communities. But there is still much more to be done to ensure that every person who wants a job can access a job by 2018," he said.

"The percentage figures confirmed by the CSO today also show that as we target that goal of full employment, our task becomes harder."

The figures released yesterday by the Central Statistics Office are the second set of a new monthly series from the statistical agency. The data showed that in June, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.8pc for males, compared with 10.9pc in May and 13pc in June last year.

The number of men out of work last month totalled 127,900. The unemployment rate for women in June was 8.3pc, unchanged from May and down from 9.3pc in June last year. The number of women without a job totalled 80,200 - up 600 from May.

Youth unemployment continues to fall, with the rate hitting 19.8pc last month, down from 20pc in May.

The minister said the Government was committed to boosting employment in the regions.

"Government colleagues and I [have] launched the Regional Action Plan for Jobs for the Midlands, which is the first of a series of eight regional plans aimed at significantly increasing the creation of jobs in every part of Ireland," he said.

"I believe these plans, playing to the strengths of each of our regions and aimed at improving collaboration between our agencies, local authorities and the private sector, will also help us in securing quality jobs right around the country."

The data comes as IT managed services firm Sungard Availability Services is to create 50 jobs as part of a new data centre initiative.

The company, which counts Fujifilm among its customers in Ireland, is to expand its services as part of an agreement with Digital Realty, a data centre host based in Dublin's Profile Park.

The jobs will include roles in technical operations, customer services, sales and marketing.

"This expansion will help us to attract more business from across the world and, in return, jobs to the area," said Gary Watson, general manager of Sungard in Ireland.

Irish Independent

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