Varadkar welcomes further drop in unemployment which shows economy is still on track

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Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has welcomed new figures from the CSO showing that the rate of unemployment continued to fall to 7.7% in October, a significant drop from its peak of 15% in 2011.

“In the last 12 months alone the unemployment rate has fallen from 9.2% to below the milestone of 8%. And in the last month it fell further from 7.9% to 7.7%.  Alongside positive Exchequer returns, it's proof positive that the economy in still on track, notwithstanding concerns about the impact of Brexit and other matters,” Minister Varadkar said.

“Since coming to Government we have almost halved unemployment, and my objective for the next few years is to halve it again. We now have 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, and the Live Register has fallen below 300,000. All of these milestones were passed this year for the first time in eight years.

“But we must continue to make progress. I want to reduce unemployment even further.  My target is to bring unemployment down to between 5% and 6% and long-term unemployment to 2.5% by 2020. I intend to move 100,000 people from welfare to work over the next five years. Budget 2017 continues the Government’s focus on activation, to help people back into the workforce.

“We need to intensify efforts because the more progress you make, the harder it gets.”

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. Supporting more people to enter self-employment and set up their own business or practice;
  4. 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;
  5. 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;
  6. Reforming and recalibrating welfare to work schemes for the new economic environment, such as Community Enterprise, Tus, and Gateway;
  7. Matching employers with jobseekers through initiatives like JobsWeek, Careers Fairs and the Jobs Ireland website;
  8. Working across Government to improve access to affordable education, training, housing and childcare.



Last modified:02/11/2016