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Tánaiste welcomes continuing fall in Unemployment

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, T.D. has today (Wednesday, 3 September 2014) welcomed the latest Live Register figures published by the Central Statistics Office which show that unemployment continues to decline with the standardised unemployment rate falling to 11.2% in August from a crisis peak of 15.1% in early 2012.

There were 398,325 people signing on the Live Register in August, 36,955 fewer than in August 2013 and 57,931 fewer than in August 2012.

Welcoming the latest statistics, the Tánaiste said: “While the latest Live Register figures continue to fall, unemployment remains at a high level and we must continue to make every effort to help jobseekers find work. Most of the people on the Live Register have a strong financial incentive to work with 73% claiming a Jobseeker’s payment for themselves only.

“These statistics, together with the latest Quarterly National Household Survey figures published recently show we are succeeding in tackling unemployment and that our economy and jobs market are recovering. Our priority is to help unemployed people get back into work. We are beginning to see a positive turn in our domestic economy and it is imperative that we help those who have been hit during the recession get back on the ladder of recovery as quickly as possible.”

The Tánaiste said she wants to ensure that the forthcoming Budget will include a programme that will deliver jobs across the country and additional measures for employers who recruit from the Live Register. She also spoke of the benefits of JobsPlus, the Department of Social Protection’s employer incentive scheme, which was introduced as part of the Government’s Pathways to Work strategy to tackle long-term unemployment. It has helped 2,725 long-term unemployed jobseekers return to work since its introduction in July last year.

The JobsPlus incentive is payable on a monthly basis over a two-year period and provides two levels of payment. A payment of €7,500 over two years is paid to employers for each person recruited who has been unemployed for between 12 and 24 months. This equates to approximately €312 a month. A payment of €10,000 over two years is paid to employers for each person recruited who has been unemployed for more than 24 months. This equates to approximately €416 a month.

“Three in five of the people who have returned to work through JobsPlus had been unemployed for two years or more. This is the group which typically finds it hardest to return to work and is at risk of long-term welfare dependency. JobsPlus is proving to break that cycle”, the Tánaiste added.

Commenting on the figures, the Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection, Kevin Humphreys, T.D. said: "These latest Live Register figures are most welcome but clearly remind us how much remains to be done to help people get back to work, especially the long term unemployed who we have targeted for help through JobsPlus.”

The Minister of State also added: “The strategies now in place by this Government and the co-operation of employers, together with the implementation of Pathways to Work which is driven by the Labour Market Council, all play a significant part in getting our unemployed people become job ready and find work.”