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Jobless families have less chance of finding work


Labour Leader and Tanaiste Joan Burton TD

Labour Leader and Tanaiste Joan Burton TD

Steve Humphreys

Labour Leader and Tanaiste Joan Burton TD

The number of homes where no member of the family is employed is going to fall much slower than the national average unemployment rate, according to a new report.

The study, undertaken by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and the Department of Social Protection, warns radical changes are needed in the approach to the problem.

Jobless homes are at major risk of poverty and welfare dependency.

The report says an increase in overall employment does not necessarily lead to a fall in household joblessness.

And unemployed women with children face particular challenges returning to the workforce. Their main problem is a lack of suitable childcare.

Author of the study, Dorothy Watson, stressed the authorities must now adopt a "broader focus" when drawing up plans to get more people back to work.

"While traditional employment policy has focused on those defined as unemployed and actively seeking work, tackling joblessness will require a broader focus that also includes those engaged on home duties and people with a disability," she said.

Figures show household joblessness affects a significant proportion of the population.

In 2014, 14pc of working age adults, and 16pc of children, lived in "jobless households".

However, this was down from a peak of 16pc and 20pc respectively in 2011/12.

The report found that during periods of "boom, recession, and recovery", people living in a jobless household found it limited their chances of entering the workforce. They had less chance of landing a job compared with a person living in a "working household".

Entry to employment was also lower when there were children in a household.

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said the research suggested the downward trend in household joblessness would continue to fall, and the situation could be improved with the "right policies".

Irish Independent