As the highest ever number of unemployed people was recorded this week with more than 452,000 now without jobs, Government representatives have rejected claims that Ireland is entering a decade of stagnation due to a ‘jobless recovery’.
Claiming the Government is taking the necessary steps to protect and create jobs, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O’Keeffe TD stated: “We know that behind every set of unemployment figures lie many human stories — and the loss of even one job is always one too many, but we must remember that the live register rises every June without exception due to seasonal factors.” A significant number of live register increases since the beginning of May is attributed to people coming off Back to Education and training allowances.
Mr O’Keeffe added that the Government's strategy is as much about creating new jobs as it is about supporting unemployed workers to get back into the labour force.
“This is not a jobless recovery as Fine Gael suggests,” he said, adding there had been 27 IDA Ireland-backed announcements involving more than 1,800 jobs since he took office in March, and that figures just released from the Central Statistics Office show the economy technically emerged from recession in the first three months of the year.
Minister for Social Protection, Éamon Ó Cuív TD added: “The issue of enforced inactivity is a huge challenge for people when they are unemployed and seeking work and I intend to use back-to-work schemes to create further opportunities to provide social employment.”
Meanwhile Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan welcomed first quarter CSO figures. “These economic figures show that Ireland is officially out of recession with GDP expanding by 2.7 per cent,” he said. “The prospects for growth this year are better, exports are performing strongly, and consumer spending has stabilised. This, coupled with the figures for consumer confidence since April, bodes well for the remainder of the year.”
Reacting, James Doorley, assistant director at the National Youth Council of Ireland, stated: “We accept job creation will be challenging and young jobseekers will find it difficult to get into the labour market while the economy is weak. However much more can be done with existing resources to provide meaningful education places, more appropriate training opportunities, and a greater number of internships and supports for young people to start their own businesses. Young people can be the drivers of recovery and we need a new approach offering them opportunities and challenges to reach their potential.”