Unemployment rate drop welcome but costs still issue for small business - ISME
SMALL business group ISME has welcomed the slight drop in the unemployment rate today but warned that economic improvements should not be sabotaged by wage hikes.
The unemployment rate fell to 11.8pc in March, new figures show.
Today the association reiterated its demand for a total Government focus on costs, to ensure that competitiveness remains a priority, which will lead to the creation of jobs over time.
"The drive for jobs must not be sabotaged by the demands for wage increases, which will simply stall any fragile recovery as the cost of labour is by far the most significant driver of business costs for most enterprises - particularly for micro and small businesses," said Mark Fielding, chief executive of ISME.
The Association called on the Government to:
Focus on cost-competitiveness related to our international competitors.
• A total overhaul the social welfare system to make it worthwhile for people to work.
• Increase job-rich infrastructure investment.
• Attack the scourge of ever-increasing black-market activity.
• Address the lack of bank credit for productive SMEs.
"If we are serious about a sustained recovery, we must, as a country, continue to reduce our overall business costs and increase our competitiveness," he said.
"Despite recent cost improvements, due to the recession, Ireland remains a high cost location for a range of key business inputs and pressure is mounting on a number of costs including wages, property, utilities, transport and credit."