Despite the massive rise in unemployment in Galway city and county over the past three years, there are signs that the crisis has stabilised.
Figures for the number of unemployed in the city and county have remained largely the same over the past 12 months, leading the Galway Chamber of Commerce to say that it is “significant” as the figures do not show a “deterioration”.
In 2007 unemployment in Galway city stood at 5,468; by 2008 it was 8,892, before jumping to 11,865 last year. By October this year, unemployment was 11,851, a drop from 12,157 in January and its highest point of 13,334 in July.
The county has also been hit with unemployment going from 9,755 in 2007 to 16,447 in 2008, to 22,722 last year. The figure as of October 2010 stands at 22,897, a drop of 686 from January.
“The figures show a stabilisation in Galway,” Maeve Joyce of the Galway Chamber of Commerce told the Galway Advertiser. “Though it has not been much it is significant in that it is not deterioration.”
Despite this real fears remains for employment in Galway in 2011, after what is expected to be a savage budget is passed in December.
Independent Galway West TD Noel Grealish is worried things may get worse before they get better.
“If you take €6 billion out of the economy that will have a negative effect on small businesses,” he said. “Unemployment will rise as more projects will be cut. There are works that need to be done in building schools and improving roads and by investing in that we will create jobs.”
With Ireland on the brink of needing an EU/IMF bailout, power is being taking away from the State. However Ms Joyce said in a Galway context, there are still ways in which people can actively help protect jobs and the local economy -
“People should make a conscious decision to spend in Galway during Christmas and the January sales,” she said. This is the famous ‘multiplier effect’, an economic rule which shows that most or some of the money spent in a local economy, will stay within that economy, and generate more money.
“Many decisions are out of people’s hands but this is one way we can have influence,” she says, “but we say ‘Shop locally, save a job’.”