Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Call for action over unemployment

European Union figures reveal that Ireland has one of the highest unemployment rates

Calls have been made for Government action as it emerged Ireland has the fourth highest unemployment rate in Europe.

Figures show 14.6% of the labour force was jobless in November, trailing behind other bailed-out countries Spain and Greece, both with 26.6%, and Portugal with 16.3%.

Dr Sean Healy, director of Social Justice Ireland, said it is clear austerity is not working.

Dr Healy said: "An alternative approach, which focuses on increased investment, is required. Without a substantial increase in investment there will be no increase in jobs on the scale required. Without jobs there will be no recovery. Without recovery Ireland will remain mired in austerity for the foreseeable future."

Most recent figures from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union (EU), revealed there were more than 26 million people out of work in the 27 EU states by the end of the year, with 18.8 million of those in the 17 euro countries.

The unemployment rate across the EU was 10.7% in November, but rose to 11.8% in the euro area. Unemployment among the under-25s stood at 23.7% in the EU and 24.4% in the euro, both up from a year earlier.

Elsewhere, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.5%), Luxembourg (5.1%), Germany (5.4%) and the Netherlands (5.6%).

Michelle Murphy, research and policy analyst with Social Justice Ireland, said despite recent announcements on jobs, Government is failing totally to address unemployment on anything like the scale required.

"Domestic demand is set to fall again in 2013. Unemployment is set to fall but this will occur because emigration will continue," she said. "In reality, the current approach by Government to resolving Ireland's series of crises is not working. In fact it is running down the economy.

"Despite taking almost 28 billion euro out of the economy in tax increases and expenditure cuts since July 2008 Ireland still has 700,000 people at risk of poverty, falling domestic demand, record levels of long-term unemployment, rising emigration and 100,000 households on waiting lists for accommodation."

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