ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, has called for immediate Government action to alleviate the number of job losses, in response to the appalling Live Register figures. The association has said the situation will continue to deteriorate unless a comprehensive plan is implemented to address the crisis.
The latest seasonally adjusted Live Register figures confirm that 402,100 people are claiming assistance, an increase of 195,100, or 94 per cent, on the corresponding period last year. Consequently the standardised unemployment rate has almost trebled to 11.8 per cent, up from 4.8 per cent at the start of 2008.
Commenting, ISME chief executive Mark Fielding said: “Following on from the ISME Jobs Survey and the disastrous redundancy figures announced earlier this week, the Live Register figures indicate that the labour market remains in a state of crisis. Little or no action has been taken since this crisis began and if the Government do not stop ‘dithering’ and take affirmative action, there will be half a million people out of work by year end.”
The association called on the Government to introduce an emergency employment action plan to tackle the negative factors that are impacting on the small business sector, particularly excessive costs, late payment, and lack of access to finance, which are directly leading to significant job losses. This should be complemented by initiatives to maintain employment, including PRSI reductions and employment subsidies.