Thursday 22 February 2018

Dramatic rise in long-term unemployed continues

Ailish O’Hora

The number of people signing on the dole for over a year has hiked by nearly 50,000 people in the past year, according to new figures.

Those in long-term unemployment now account for 41pc of claimants, compared with 30pc this time last year.

And the figures will prove a headache for the new Government despite the jobs initiatives.

The dramatic hike comes in tandem with a slight increase in the live register which stands at 14.2pc or 446,800, a 0.1pc increase compared with last month.

Responding to the figures, small business representative group ISME said chronic long term unemployment is now embedded in the economy and is a major concern.

“Difficult decisions, including the abolition of the archaic ERO/REA system, reforming social welfare and addressing state controlled business costs are key to assisting businesses to maintain and create employment,” said Mark Fielding, chief executive of ISME.

ERO/REA’s are agreements signed up by employers during the boom which allow for higher payments for lower paid workers on Sundays, for example.

“There is no doubt that tackling these issues will lead to a backlash from the usual suspects, but the Government needs to hold firm and show leadership in the ongoing unemployment crisis,” he added.

Business representative group IBEC highlighted that with over 40pc of those on the live register looking for work for over a year, government intervention is more important now than ever.

“Measures such as the National Internship Scheme, launched by Government today, are essential to get people connected to the workplace again," said IBEC chief economist Fergal O’Brien, in response to the figures from the Central Statistics Office figures.

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