Letter to the Editor of the Meath Chronicle: Jobs growth is putting lives back on track locally and nationally

Friday, 11th September 2015

Jobs growth is putting lives back on track locally and nationally

Dear Editor,

Much of the recent commentary on jobs growth in Ireland ignores the findings of the Central Statistics Office which is independent of Government. There are many myths out there that must be challenged for the sake of fairness. Firstly though I want to say unemployment is still far too high. Whilst much progress has been made, this Government will continue to prioritise job creation until we return to full employment.

The CSO tells us we have had 11 consecutive quarters of jobs growth in Ireland. Total employment is up 126,000 since the Action Plan for Jobs was launched in February 2012. Locally here in Meath the Live Register has dropped by 27.7% or 3,229 people since the launch of the Action Plan for Jobs in 2012, one of the biggest drops in the country.

Of the extra people now at work, 91% of them are full time.  Many of these people have good conditions and prospects. Over 70% are in occupations described as management, professional, technical or skilled tradespersons according to the CSO

Over 52,000 new jobs are in the IDA and EI supported companies where pay is above average.

Commendably, 35,000 people have had the courage to set up new businesses of their own, and we must encourage more of this.

The hospitality sector, which is up 15,000 jobs, does have a higher percentage of lower paid workers. However, this sector also has a really important regional spread of new jobs.

The total number of unemployed now stands at 211,000, or 9.5%, down from a high of 15.1%. The number of long-term unemployed has fallen by 81,000, down almost 60%.

Again, despite the myths, the CSO tells us that 64% of new jobs are outside Dublin.  Employment in IDA companies and in EI companies is growing in every region.

Young people were most severely impacted by the crash. Net emigration among young people peaked at 20,000, but is now down by 56%. In 2015, of the young people who emigrated, only 14% were unemployed before they left, 48% were at work and 30% were students according to the CSO.

The value of education is underlined by the CSO. Those who study beyond 2nd-level have half the unemployment rate of early school leavers.  With 25 new Apprenticeships unveiled by my Department for roll out by 2016, there are now more training options for young and old than ever before, especially for those with a more vocational skillset.

My target as a local T.D., and Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, is that everyone who wants a job should have one, and that by 2018, all of the jobs lost in the downturn should be replaced. Every new job means a life, a family and our wider community is back on track.

Yours sincerely,

Damien English T.D.

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation,

20, Watergate St.,

Navan.

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