Saturday 16 December 2017

'Economy powering ahead'

Leo Varadkar Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Leo Varadkar Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Unless there is "a major economic disaster" we are set to surpass employment targets set for 2020 by the end of the year.

The Government is to set more ambitious employment goals after the number of people who are out of work dropped by another 47,300 over the past 12 months.

This has brought the unemployment rate down to 6.2pc, from 8.4pc in April 2016.

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar said the economy was "powering ahead" despite Brexit and uncertainty in the global markets.

However, Fianna Fáil's Willie O'Dea warned that while the figures were "good on the surface, there's a story behind them".

"The total level of wages in the public and private sector hasn't increased at the level you would expect.

"That's a sign that a lot of these are low quality jobs," he told the Irish Independent.

Mr Varadkar was overhyping the figures because there was "a huge problem with under-employment", whereby people were working just a few hours a week, he said.

Irish Independent

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