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Burton hails fall in unemployment

Published 17/11/2015

Tanaiste Joan Burton hailed the latest jobs news
Tanaiste Joan Burton hailed the latest jobs news

Tanaiste Joan Burton has hailed improving unemployment levels as a landmark in Ireland's recovery.

Some 56,000 more people are in jobs than a year ago, with the Central Statistics Office (CSO) putting the unemployment rate at 8.9% in October - a low not seen since late 2008.

"Behind every new job is a person or family benefiting in their own lives from the wider recovery. This is a crucial step in ensuring every family and every household benefits from renewed prosperity and opportunity, which is my focus as Labour Party leader," Ms Burton said.

Despite the encouraging report, the number of people out of work for a year or more remains a major issue as it accounts for more than half of those classed as unemployed.

Ms Burton noted the scale of the problem for long-term unemployed, adding: "This is particularly crucial to ensure a generation are not left behind and reliant on social welfare while the economy takes off."

The CSO said 1,983,000 people in Ireland were in work.

And its survey found unemployment fell by 42,500, or 17.3%, in the year to the end of September, meaning there were 203,000 people unemployed.

At its worst, during the economic and financial crisis the unemployment rate was at 15.1%.

Business lobby group Ibec predicted more than two million people will be in work by the end of the year.

The CSO revealed that employment grew over the last year in 12 of the 14 economic sectors it measures, with the biggest increases in construction, up 13.3% or 15,000, and in industry, up 5.7% or 13,600.

The financial, insurance and real estate sectors took a hit though, down 3.2% or 3,300.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the economy had seen three years of job creation and a fall in the numbers out of work for more than two years.

"Employment growth is one of the most tangible signs of economic recovery," he said.

Mr Noonan also said solid declines in long-term unemployment are particularly encouraging.

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