Saturday 16 December 2017

'Brain drain' fears despite 17pc fall in unemployment

Unemployment now stands at a six-year low of 9.6pc
Unemployment now stands at a six-year low of 9.6pc
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

Unemployment dropped by 17pc in the past 12 months, as the country continues to show signs of an economic recovery.

The numbers on the Live Register dropped by 43,300 to 211,200, with unemployment now standing at a six-year low of 9.6pc.

This was aligned with increased job growth, as employment grew by 3pc in the past year, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The long-term unemployment rate decreased from 6.8pc to 5.5pc.

However, the number of graduates emigrating is at its highest level since 2010.

Tánaiste Joan Burton said she welcomed the figures but admitted that more needed to be done to ensure continued job growth.

"In the context of the turmoil that is being experienced internationally, it means that Ireland is very well set to progress but also to be able to deal with any of the issues that are arising in the world economy," she said.

"We still have a way to go and we have a lot of work to do to help those people who remain unemployed, particularly those people longer-term unemployed," she added.

Figures released by the CSO also reveal that Irish people are becoming less likely to emigrate, while more are returning home. However, emigration is still an attractive prospect for the country's graduates. More than 30,000 young people emigrated in the past 12 months, with 223,600 under-25s leaving Ireland since the economic crisis began.


More than half (52.8pc) of those over 15 years old who emigrated last year held a third-level qualification.

The National Youth Council (NYCI) said that it was concerned about the level of emigration. NYCI senior research and policy officer Marie-Claire McAleer said the emigration statistics were very disappointing.

"While we welcome the slight reduction in the number of people leaving in the year to April 2015, the figures are still extremely high at 80,900 emigrants - many of whom are highly skilled and educated," she said.

"This represents a brain drain and will inhibit our economic recovery. We need a pool of well-educated and skilled people to attract investment and stimulate and sustain economic growth."

There were 5,400 less Irish emigrants in the 12 months to April of this year, as net migration fell for the second consecutive year.

Of the 80,900 people emigrating during this period, 43.6pc were Irish. This represents a decrease of 6.1pc compared with the previous year.

Despite this, the total number of emigrants only fell by 1,000, as the number of non-nationals leaving Ireland increased by 10.6pc.

The number of immigrants increased by 12.5pc to 69,300.

Irish residents have made more than four million trips abroad already this year, an increase of 350,000.

In the same period 4,814,600 tourists visited Ireland, an increase of 522,200.

Irish Independent

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