Connaughton welcomes increase in employment

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News that the number of people unemployed has fallen below 300,000 for the first time since 2010 was welcomed this week by Paul Connaughton T.D. who said that the figures show an encouraging rise in real employment figures in the country.

‘Figures released by the Central Statistics Office today show that over 2,000 jobs per month have been created in the private sector in the last year. This has brought unemployment numbers below 300,000 for the first time in three years.

‘This Government is working extremely hard to ensure that the correct conditions are created to allow employers to take on extra staff. We have to make the transition from the failed model which was over-reliant on jobs in construction, property and banking to a new model which is more sustainable and is based on enterprise, exports and innovation.’

‘While these figures are most welcome and show that net employment has increased by 24,000 since last year, despite the loss of 5,000 public sector jobs, there are two aspects of the figures that must be focused upon.  The first is that many of the newly created jobs are part-time and the second element is that over 35s are benefiting disproportionally from the new jobs. Employment for people over 35 is now equivalent to the peak recorded before the downturn. In contrast, there are just 650,000 people under 35 in employment, compared to one million in 2007.

‘The biggest single source of new jobs is agriculture and this underlines the importance of agriculture to the Irish economy. We have seen major jobs announcements in the agri sector from food companies such as Glanbia and I believe that the work that has been done in recent months to build our exports in emerging markets must continue.

‘Today’s figures are encouraging, reflecting real positive changes in the jobs market, but we must redouble our efforts to ensure that the benefits that accrue are spread evenly across the country and across all age groups.’

“Far too many people are still out of work and many people are still struggling. We still have a long way to go, but this announcement shows that we are rebuilding our economy.”