Significant drop in jobless numbers


East Galway TD Paul Connaughton has welcomed a significant drop in the number of people on the live register in county Galway in the past year.
‘In February 2014 there were 22,835 people on the live register in the county and by December this had dropped to 18,134, a drop of 4,701 or 20 percent. For every five people on the live register last year, one is now in employment.
‘Just months after this government took office in July 2011, there were 25,038 people on the live register in county Galway. Since then, just over 6,900 people have come off the live register in the county and many hundreds more have had their working hours increased.
‘There continues to be an unacceptably high level of unemployment in the county and it remains very difficult for young people to access employment, but as the number of people on the live register continues to decline, more opportunities will open up for our young people, who are ready, willing and anxious to find employment.
‘I believe that there should be much more scrutiny of the JobBridge scheme in 2015. While it can be a very useful avenue for some people to gain experience, I believe that in many cases is it being used to access cheap labour and some employers take little or no interest in ensuring that their new employees gain valuable experience while undertaking the internship.
‘The economy is in recovery and this recovery is reflected in real jobs being created in county Galway, a drop of 6,900 people on the live register since July 2011 is very significant. The focus for 2015 must be on creating jobs outside our main cities and ensuring that people in rural areas can access jobs in their local region.
A Regional Enterprise Strategy is being prepared by the Minister for Jobs, Richard Bruton and this will be a key element in ensuring that the benefit of additional jobs is felt in our towns, villages and rural areas.
‘In 2012 the national unemployment rate was 15.1%, now it is 10.6% and we must continue to work to ensure that that number keeps falling. Many workers will see a little more money in their bank account from this month thanks to changes to the tax and USC system in the budget and at last falling oil prices are being reflected at the petrol pumps and many commuters are finding their costs easing slightly.
‘Going to work has to work for individuals and families and that is why this Government is committed to policies that make work pay and make it attractive for employers to take on further staff. In county Galway, unemployment figures are moving in the right direction, but the fact that 18,134 people remain on the live register and looking for work is a reminder of how much work remains to be done in terms of job creation and ensuring that the recovery is both sustainable and evenly spread, including to every corner of County Galway.’