Monday 20 November 2017

Jobless total slightly down

Ed Carty

The unemployment rate dipped slightly to 14.6pc last month, official figures have revealed.

The total number signing on for dole payments fell by 1,622 last month even though the live register for the year has gone up by almost 7,000.

The Central Statistics Office said the average unemployment rate for last year was 13.6pc.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said: "They are a modest improvement on last month. We are not going to be sending up any flares celebrating this, it is a modest improvement, but it is still a very poor figure.

"We are determined next week to set about introducing measures that can make a difference to people who are out of work, offer new hope, offer support to businesses who are getting through this recession.

"We need to create a momentum for a turning point in what has been a very grim number of years."

Mr Bruton said huge mistakes have been made in policies and the new government was determined to put them right."

Finance Minister Michael Noonan will next week detail the Government`s "jobs initiative" - a cost neutral plan to stimulate economic growth and employment opportunities.

The live register total was just below 440,000 in April.

Reetta Suonpera, economist with business federation Ibec, said: "The Government jobs initiative must introduce decisive measures to tackle unemployment.

"Major reform of state employment services and the welfare system is needed, along with a new drive to get graduates and the unemployed into work.

"Unless action is taken now, Ireland risks a prolonged and damaging period of high long-term unemployment."

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