Minister Varadkar asks officials to consider more ambitious unemployment targets

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Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar is considering setting more ambitious unemployment targets after the latest figures from the CSO showed a further significant fall in unemployment in the last 12 months.

“Today’s CSO figures show that unemployment has dropped from 8.4% in February 2016 to 6.6% this month. That’s a drop of 36,200 people on the live register in the space of a year,” Minister Varadkar said.

“This is really encouraging, but I think it also represents an opportunity for the Government to be even more ambitious in its plans. That’s why I’m considering more ambitious targets for driving down unemployment.

“The current Government target is to achieve an unemployment rate of 6% by the end of 2020, and a long-term unemployment rate of 2.5%. I am now considering revising these downward, or bringing the target date forward from 2020, and have asked my officials to consider options.

“Ireland still faces significant risks such as Brexit and the rise of anti-globalisation politics in some countries. Nevertheless, unemployment continues to fall rapidly.”