Employers will be central to continuing jobs recovery
The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton T.D., has today (5th March 2014) urged employers to play their part to build on the success to date in getting people back to work, as new figures show unemployment has fallen for the 20th month in a row.
The Central Statistics Office figures show that there were 30,807 fewer people on the Live Register last month than in February 2013, and 41,353 fewer than in February 2012.
The standardised unemployment rate has now fallen to 11.9% from a crisis peak of 15.1%.
Minister Burton said: “Taken together with last week’s separate employment data, which showed that the number of people in jobs increased by 61,000 last year, these are very encouraging figures.
“The Pathways to Work strategy, designed to help people on the Live Register return to work, is playing a central part in this progress. Through Pathways, we have introduced a series of key reforms, such as replacing the dole offices of old with new Intreo centres – one-stop shops where jobseekers get their income and employment supports in the one place for the first time. Last month, the Taoiseach and I opened the 44th such centre in Castlebar.
“But an 11.9% unemployment rate is still far too high, and that is why, this year and beyond, my absolute priority will be to ensure that the Live Register falls substantially further, with full employment the central target.
“Employers will be key to this. We want employers in Ireland to follow the example of their counterparts in countries like Germany and Austria and be willing to give not alone young jobseekers but also long-term unemployed people the necessary work, training and apprenticeship opportunities.
“That is why I am very heartened by the ‘Skills for Work Week’, organised by the Irish food and grocery industry, and which has seen the industry offer over 1,500 opportunities this week for young people to get experience in, and career advice from, the sector.”
Skills for Work Week, which runs until Friday (7th March) is part of Feeding Ireland’s Future, an initiative by the food and grocery industry which involves industry members sharing first-hand knowledge of the skills needed for a career in the sector or elsewhere. Twenty-nine companies are participating in the week.
The Skills for Work initiative, the first of its kind in Ireland, is being promoted by ECR Ireland, with the support of its members, in partnership with the Department, through its Intreo service.
Minister Burton said: “This is an excellent initiative and I’d like to congratulate ECR Ireland and the companies involved in it. Projects like this offer great potential to help people into work, and I would like employers in other industries to examine the potential for similar initiatives.
“Developing key alliances of this nature is a core reason why I appointed a Labour Market Council of leading industry and policy experts, featuring representatives from some of Ireland’s biggest employers, to drive implementation of the Pathways to Work strategy. The Council will help deepen our engagement with business, and advise on what further actions can be taken across Government to increase employment,” the Minister concluded.
About ECR Ireland:
Efficient Consumer Response Ireland (ECR) was established in 1998 to promote and educate the Irish Business Community about Efficient Consumer Response and the benefits it brings. It is the official ECR organisation in Ireland and is a member of ECR Europe. The board is comprised of senior executives from a selection of retailers and suppliers operating in Ireland whose purpose it is to represent the sectors within which they trade.