Unemployment passes key milestone and drops below 8% - Varadkar

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Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has welcomed new CSO figures showing that unemployment has fallen from a peak of 15% in 2011 to 7.9%.

“For the first time in eight years, there are more than two million people at work. This year, we will exceed our target of moving 20,000 people from long-term unemployment to work,” Minister Varadkar said.

“Essentially, unemployment and long-term employment has fallen to almost half what it was at the depths of the recession, but I want to get it down even further.  My target is to bring unemployment down to between 5% and 6% and long-term unemployment to 2.5%, matching the performance of the most successful tier of countries in Europe. I want to move 100,000 people from welfare to work over the next five years.

“But as unemployment falls, it gets harder to bring it down further. We cannot afford to be complacent about the progress made to date, so we need to intensify our efforts. This includes:

  1. More one-to-one engagement by case officers with jobseekers through Intreo Centres and JobPath;
  2. Making work pay through increases in wages and salaries that are sustainable and affordable, reductions in the USC and new social insurance benefits like paternity benefit;
  3. Increasing the uptake by employers of financial supports like JobsPlus which subsidises employers who take on someone who is long-term unemployed and the Wage Subsidy Scheme for taking on someone with a disability;
  4. The development of an Action Plan for Jobless Households which will focus intergenerational employment and supporting people with disabilities and lone parents to take up employment;
  5. Reforming and recalibrating welfare to work schemes for the new economic environment, such as Community Enterprise, Tus, and Gateway;
  6. Matching employers with jobseekers through initiatives like JobsWeek, Careers Fairs and the Jobs Ireland website;
  7. Working across Government to improve access to affordable education, training, housing and childcare.



Last modified:04/10/2016