Tuesday 20 February 2018

Number signing on drops by 33,000 over the last year

ISME' s Mark Fielding said the cost of doing business needed to be reduced
ISME' s Mark Fielding said the cost of doing business needed to be reduced
Aideen Sheehan

Aideen Sheehan

AROUND 400 people a week are coming off the Live Register, but the rate of job creation is still too slow, business and trade union leaders have warned.

The number of people signing on for unemployment benefits has fallen by almost 33,000 over the last year with a total of 388,764 now on the Live Register.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the numbers also fell by 1,600 in May compared to the previous month, the new Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures show.

The unemployment rate remained steady at 11.8pc and is down from its peak of over 15pc two years ago.

However, over 183,000 people have now been out of work for more than a year and it is absolutely critical these long-term unemployed are given the opportunity and support to get back to work, warned the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU).

INOU co-ordinator John Stewart warned there had been cuts to educational supports in recent years, making it harder for unemployed people to take part in training programmes.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions said not enough jobs were being created to end the continuing jobs crisis, and at current trends it would be 2022 before unemployment fell to 5pc.

"That is too little too late and shows the market cannot be left to its own devices to solve this crisis – we need action here in Ireland and across Europe in the form of an investment programme," said ICTU assistant general secretary Sally Anne Kinahan.

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association noted that there were another 85,441 people on back-to-work schemes bringing the total on state job assistance to over 477,000, and strong action was needed to reduce the cost of doing business.

"Consumer confidence will be restored through increased jobs; jobs will be created when costs are addressed," said ISME chief executive Mark Fielding.

Davy analyst David McNamara said that the latest Live Register figures pointed to a moderation in the pace of job growth after disappointing job creation figures last week.

The CSO figures show that four times as many men as women have come off the Live Register in the last year.

There was also a big drop in the number of casual and parttime workers signing on, suggesting more people are getting full-time work.

The biggest drop in numbers was a 15pc fall in the craft and related sector, which includes most building workers, with the professional sector seeing an 8pc decline in the numbers signing on.

Irish Independent

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