Tackling youth unemployment issue key to sustainable recovery – SFA
THE Government must focus urgently on youth unemployment if there is to be a sustainable economic recovery, one of the biggest trade groups in the country has warned.
The Small Firms Association said the number of under-25s in full-time employment had dropped by nearly two-thirds since the boom, and that trend had to be reversed quickly.
In the years leading up to the bust, there were about 325,000 under-25s employed in the State.
At the last count there were just 130,000, meaning that for every 10 jobs that existed at the beginning of 2008, six had disappeared, the SFA claimed.
"Just a quarter of people aged between 15 and 24 are working, down from half before the recession.
"Active labour policies are only part of the solution, reducing youth unemployment is not possible without a strong commitment and focus on education and growth," said the association's chairman AJ Noonan, below.
"In the current economic and financial crisis, the lack of job opportunities has impacted on young people more than any other group in Irish society – this is reflected in our high and increasing youth unemployment rates.
"Active labour policies are only part of the solution, reducing youth unemployment is not possible without a strong commitment and focus on education, growth and recovery," he added.
Mr Noonan highlighted that young people have never had better access to third-level education, but that was still not enough to get them into the workplace after college.
"The high levels of youth unemployment stand in sharp contrast to the potential of the young generation – it shows that something is seriously wrong in the functioning of our education system and our labour market," he said.
The SFA has long wanted the Government to reduce what it claims are unnecessary costs on business and they claim that the high costs are putting small firms off hiring junior staff.