The CSO quarterly national household survey figures released today show that 33,600 people are unemployed in the west. The figures, which relate to the first quarter of 2011, show that the region’s unemployment rate has increased to 16 per cent compared with 14.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year. This is the third highest unemployment rate in the State after the southeast and the midlands.
“Long-term unemployment is becoming a serious problem,” said IBEC regional director John Brennan. “Every government decision must be informed by the need to get people back to work. The focus should be on providing those that have lost their job with the right skills to take up new jobs when they arise. A particular focus is needed on lower level skilled workers, who have been the most severely affected by the recession. It is crucial that we avoid a prolonged period of structural unemployment.
“The Government must ensure that structural unemployment does not become entrenched in the economy,” he added. “Ambitious reform of labour market activation and retraining services is needed to ensure that those who have lost jobs get the skills to take up new work when the economy picks up.”