Minister Burton welcomes Live Register figures which show unemployment now at lowest level in five years


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Figures demonstrate success of the Pathways to Work strategy

The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD, has today (2nd April 2014) welcomed the latest Live Register figures from the Central Statistics Office which show unemployment at its lowest level in five years.

The number of people on the Live Register in March 2014 stood at 391,232, some 33,856 fewer than in March 2013 and 42,822 fewer than in March 2012.

It means the standardised unemployment rate has now fallen to 11.8% from a crisis peak of 15.1%.

Minister Burton said: "Upon taking office, I introduced the Pathways to Work strategy so that there would be a dedicated and unrelenting focus on reducing unemployment. Through the Pathways to Work strategy, we have transformed the Department of Social Protection from a passive benefits provider to an active and engaged public employment service. Today’s CSO figures, showing the Live Register at its lowest level since April of 2009, demonstrate that the Pathways to Work approach is paying off.

"Separately, data published by Eurostat, the EU’s statistical agency, shows that Ireland’s unemployment rate is now in line with the Eurozone average, having been up to 40% above the Eurozone figure only two years ago. While there remains a long way to go and much work to do in tackling the unemployment problem, this demonstrates that we are making firm and substantial progress. Pathways to Work, in tandem with the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs, is helping to get Ireland back to work."

The Minister encouraged jobseekers and employers alike to visit the www.jobsireland.ie website. The site lists thousands of available jobs at any one time, allows employers to advertise posts and provides job-ready candidates to help employers fill vacancies. These services are provided at no cost.

Minister Burton also cited two specific initiatives which will help further reduce unemployment this year: the establishment of the Labour Market Council and the Youth Guarantee.

The Labour Market Council is a jobs council of leading industry and policy experts, featuring representatives from some of Ireland’s biggest employers, set up to drive the implementation of the Pathways to Work strategy. It is chaired by Mr Martin Murphy, MD of HP Ireland, and will help further the Government’s continually widening outreach to employers.

The Youth Guarantee is an EU-wide strategy to provide young people under the age of 25 with a good quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within a short time of becoming unemployed.

Minister Burton, together with the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn TD, recently published the Government’s plan to implement the Youth Guarantee in Ireland.

The implementation plan will see the Government launch a dedicated drive to provide the work, training and education opportunities that young jobseekers need. In keeping with the Government’s broader focus on tackling long-term unemployment, the plan targets interventions, in the first instance, at those young people most at risk of long-term unemployment. Over the course of 2014 and into 2015, processes and programmes will be progressively rolled out to ensure that young unemployed people who have a low probability of finding employment without significant support will receive a Youth Guarantee offer within four months. The Government expects to provide a Guarantee offer to circa 30,000 young people at the highest risk of long-term unemployment this year.

ENDS

1. Pathways to Work complements the Action Plan for Jobs. The Action Plan is designed to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, jobs-rich economy, while Pathways aims to ensure that as many as possible of those newly created jobs go to people on the Live Register.

Last modified:02/04/2014