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Noonan hails jobs turnaround as number in work hits five-year high

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Minister for Finance Michael Noonan

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has hailed a turnaround in key sectors of the economy as the number of people at work is at its highest level in five years.

There were 27,700 more people in a job at the end of September than at the same time last year, with 1.93 million in employment. This is the highest level since the autumn of 2009.

Full-time jobs account for the vast bulk of the increase, with a bounce-back in hard-hit sectors such as construction and retail helping to drive the growth.

The unemployment rate dipped to 10.9pc in October, according to the data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Mr Noonan said the economy was growing strongly and that jobs were being created.

"We are seeing a turnaround in a number of key sectors which are servicing the domestic economy," Mr Noonan said. "The Irish economy is growing strongly and most importantly jobs are being created. Budget 2015 was designed to strengthen and broaden this recovery to families across the country."

The CSO said employment had increased by 27,700 in the 12 months to the end of September, or 1.5pc, fuelled by a rise of 26,100 in full-time positions.

That was a softer annual increase, however, than in previous quarters. Long-term unemployment is also falling, with the rate dropping to 6.4pc from 7.6pc over the year to the end of September. But the numbers out of work for more than a year still account for more than half of the total unemployed, although this is dropping.

Unemployment decreased by 37,400 over the year, with the unemployment rate between July and September at 11.1pc. It fell to 10.9pc in October.

Youth unemployment dropped to 23.2pc from 26.5pc.

Regionally, unemployment is falling everywhere but the Midland region, where it increased between July and September to 14.5pc.

In the Border, Midland and Western region, it dipped to 12.3pc, in the Border region it's at 11.7pc and in the South-East it's at 13.7pc.

The number of employees in the public sector dropped by 6,000 in the year to the end of September, compared with an increase of 25,000 in the 12 months to the end of September last year. Mr Noonan claimed tax measures introduced in last month's Budget, as well as reforms delivered over the coming years, will help to create 15,000 jobs.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said the jobs recovery was broadening across the country: "Regions of the country which have faced difficulty in recent years are now showing strong employment growth - with the Border, West, Mid West, South West and South East showing the strongest jobs results in the past quarter."

Irish Independent