Unemployment rate moves below 9% for the first time since 2008

Over 135,000 jobs created since Action Plan for Jobs launched, and total number of people unemployed moves below 200,000 for the first time since end 2008

The Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton TD together with Minister of State for Business and Employment Ged Nash TD today (Tuesday) welcomed the latest official employment figures from the Central Statistics Office, showing that 135,800 extra jobs have been created since the start of 2012 when the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs was launched.

The two Ministers were speaking after the CSO published its official Quarterly National Household Survey, which also showed:

·        The unemployment rate has hit 8.9%, the lowest rate since the end of 2008, and down from a high of 15.1% in February 2012 (see Table A3)

·        The total number of people unemployed has moved below 200,000 for the first time since the end of 2008 (see Table A3)

The figures published today also show:

·        Jobs have grown in all 8 regions since the Action Plan was launched, with strongest percentage increases not in Dublin or Cork but in the South East (14.4%), the Midlands (13.8%), and the Border (12%)

·        56,000 extra jobs were created in the past 12 months

·        The number of people in part-time employment fell in the past 12 months, meaning that the numbers in full-time employment actually increased by 59,400

·        Employment grew in 12 out of 14 economic sectors, with largest increases in construction and industry

·        The number of people long-term unemployed has declined from 204,300 when the Acton Plan was launched in early 2012 to 109,800 today, a decrease of 46%

Speaking today, Minister Bruton said:

“Every job created is a life back on track, a family improved, a community enhanced. It is also job-creation that allows us to grow tax revenues and ultimately improve services and cut taxes, and that is why we have made employment our very top priority.

“Today’s figures are further confirmation that the trend that has been underway since we launched our Action Plan for Jobs in 2012 continues to deepen and broaden across the country. This hasn’t happened by accident, and depends on Government having the policy mix right. Significant milestones are hit, with the unmeployment rate dipping below 9% and the numbers of people unemployed going under 200,000 for the first time since 2008. And in virtually every area the indicators are positive – regions, long-term unemployed, part-time employment, sectors.

“However there are still many people around the country who are not yet feeling the benefits yet, and there is still a long way to go before we can say we have replaced all the jobs that were lost, before we can attract young emigrants home in large numbers, before we can have jobs available for all the unemployed. Today’s news is an important milestone which gives us confidence that the plan is working, but we must keep our eyes on the prize, and continue carefully implementing the policies necessary to deliver the jobs we need”.

Minister Nash said: “We set ourselves the target of reducing unemployment to below 9% by the end of 2015 and today’s confirmation that we have achieved that ahead of schedule is very welcome.  It shows that the Government’s twin track approach of the Action Plan for Jobs and Pathways to Work is delivering jobs and opportunities.  56,000 people have joined the workforce in the past year and they and their families can look to the future with much more optimism than they did only 12 months ago.  

“I am particularly pleased to see the long-term unemployment rate has fallen from 6.4% to 5% in the past year.  Yes, that figure is still too high and we need to do more to ensure that those who have been without work for a year or more are assisted in gaining the skills and confidence to reap the benefits of our jobs recovery.  I’m also pleased to see that the vast majority of the jobs created are full-time jobs, which is in keeping with my agenda to ensure the jobs we are assisting to create are decent jobs which pay well and allow people to have a better standard of living.”

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