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Jobless fall cannot disguise problems of long-term and youth unemployment

Date Released: 31 May 2013

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has said that although the fall in jobless numbers is welcome, it cannot disguise continued high levels of long-term and youth unemployment.

Congress Assistant General Secretary, Sally Anne Kinahan said: “It is good news that we have seen an increase in the numbers of work as there can be no recovery without job creation.

“But we need to be clear that much of the current reduction stems from an increase in self-employment and part time work, which people often turn to when full time work is unavailable.

“In addition, the figures for youth and the long-term unemployed are chronic, with youth unemployment at almost 27% and the long-term jobless figure close to 62% of the total numbers out of work.

“That represents policy failure on a huge scale and sees one segment of society becoming entirely detached from the workforce and another left with few options except emigration. Indeed, it is probable the fall in the labour force is almost entirely due to outward migration,” Kinahan said.

“Underemployment is also on the rise, with some 155,000 people now experiencing involuntary part time work. This creates economic hardship and particularly affects women.  Over a third of those working part time are now underemployed.

“This is no basis for a secure, long-term recovery. Self-defeating austerity has decimated domestic demand and continues to cost us jobs. It undermines all prospects of recovery. Only a significant programme of investment can give a genuine boost to job creation," she said. 

SIPTU economist, Marie Sherlock, said: “On a seasonally adjusted basis, there were 7,700 more jobs in the economy in the January-March period than in the previous three months. In the year to the end of March, employment increased by 20,500 or 1.1%.

“These figures and the overall unemployment figure of 13.7% are at least a step in the right direction but by no means indicate an end, or even the beginning of the end, to the jobs crisis.”

She added: “There are a number of concerns evident from an initial inspection of the statistics. Firstly, it is unclear what impact emigration has played in the decreasing number of those unemployed. In relation to the growth in those working the bulk of employment is in part-time work, which is narrowly concentrated in a small number of sectors. Agriculture, forestry fishing and health were the main growth sectors in the first quarter of 2013. 

 


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