Youth unemployment grows - and now sits at double pre-crisis rate
The number of young people on the live register is continuing to grow despite the upturn in our economic fortunes, according to the latest figures from the CSO.
While the overall unemployment rate was stagnant, the youth rate, based on those aged 15-24 who were part of the labour force, climbed from 19.9pc in June to 20.2pc last month, the figures reveal.
The increase in unemployment among younger people, particularly college graduates, has caused concern as youth unemployment is "consistently high" and is "double the pre-crisis rate", the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) said.
NYCI deputy director James Doorley said: "Youth unemployment is still high, at twice the rate it was before 2008.
"Moreover, the latest figures at the end of June show that almost 19,000 young people were on the live register for one year or more."
Tánaiste Joan Burton welcomed the figures for the unchanged rate of overall unemployment and a spokesperson noted that these figures were lower overall when compared with the youth unemployment rate during the recession.
"Notwithstanding the variation in unemployment from month to month, over the past three years youth unemployment has been significantly reduced.
"From a peak of 31.2pc in June 2012, the youth unemployment rate is 20.2pc as of July, resulting from the impact of successful government policies and the overall improvement in the labour market," she said.
A Department of Jobs spokesperson accepted that youth unemployment remained stubbornly high.
"Thankfully we have made major progress in this area. The numbers of unemployed people between the ages of 15-24 has declined from 64,000 when we launched the Action Plan for Jobs to 38,000 today.
"However, this is still far too high, and acts as a reminder that we must continue strong implementation of new job-creation policies," the spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) insisted the Government was not doing enough to help them create much-needed jobs.
It has warned the Government of the dangers of stifling SME expansion plans, through "incessant cost increases in the minimum wage, parental and paternity leave, and sick leave", a spokesman said.
ISME chief executive Mark Fielding said wages were rising by 2pc but "the recent 6pc minimum wage hike and the cave in to the already overpaid public sector will create further wage pressure and cause alarm bells to ring, especially in the labour intensive sectors".
The CSO figures reveal that 208,900 people are still signing on the live register, a slight increase of 300 in the month.
The jobless rate among men was 10.8pc in July, while for women it was 8.4pc.