Varadkar welcomes new fall in unemployment

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The Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has welcomed the further fall in monthly unemployment shown in the CSO figures published today.

According to the CSO figures, the number of people out of work fell by 18.4% in 2016, from an estimated 193,200 in December 2015 to an estimated 157,700 last month.

This means that unemployment fell at a faster rate in 2016 than in any year since the start of the recovery.

As a percentage of the workforce, unemployment now stands at 7.2%, down from 7.3 % in November 2016 and from 8.9% in December 2015.

The Minister commented:”Today’s figures confirm that our economy has continued to improve during 2016 resulting in a reduction of 35,500 in the number of people who are unemployed. I am determined to continue to make more changes for the better this year to ensure that the benefits of economic recovery are felt by every individual, household and region in the country through reduced unemployment, higher living standards and enhanced social protection”.

The Minister has pledged that every effort will be made to make substantial progress towards the unemployment target of 5-6% and long term unemployment target of <2.5% and move another 20,000 people from welfare to work in 2017. “This will be achieved through activation measures like: one-to-one engagements with jobseekers; using initiatives like JobsWeek to match jobseekers with employers; making work pay through sustainable wage increases, effective tax reductions and new social insurance measures like paternity benefit; promoting financial supports like JobsPlus and the Wage Subsidy Scheme; reforming existing work schemes like Community Employment and Tús; and developing initiatives across the whole of Government in education, training, housing and childcare. In addition, the publication of the Action Plan for Jobless Families will allow us to zero in on long-term and intergenerational unemployment”.