Belfast Telegraph

Unemployment levels show decrease

More than 400,000 people remain on the dole despite a drop in the numbers signing on for welfare payments, latest figures show.

There were 404,515 citizens claiming benefits last month - a drop of more than 37,000, or 8.5%, since the same time last year.

However, 11.5% of the workforce has no job.

The study, by the Central Statistics Office, shows men are more likely to come off the dole than women.

Almost four times as many men (2,600) than women (700) signed off this month, according to seasonally-adjusted figures.

Over the year, there was an almost 11% dip in the number of men claiming benefits compared to a near 5% decrease in women.

There are 188,670 long-term claimants - those on the dole for more than a year.

This represents a 4.5% drop since last year, and again men are more likely than women to come off long term benefits.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said the Government is aiming to help create 7,000 jobs every year until 2020, through attracting multinational companies to locate in Ireland.

Publishing his latest foreign direct investment strategy, Mr Bruton said the 12.5% corporation tax would remain a central pillar of the country's plan to bring in more businesses.

Emerging markets, such as medical technology and food, will be the focus in the coming years.

"While things are improving, we still have very high unemployment and we have set ourselves ambitious targets for job creation, including replacing all the jobs that were lost in the crisis by 2020," said Mr Bruton.

"Multinational companies have a crucial part to play in this."

Mr Bruton insisted he was not worried about US President Barack Obama's recent attack on so-called tax inversion schemes by American companies.

Mr Obama has suggested he will crack down on multinationals technically or financially relocating to countries like Ireland to avail of lower tax.

"Ireland would support the ending of inversion, it is not something we promote or seek to facilitate," said Mr Bruton.

"This is a feature of the US tax code which they can resolve themselves, and I know President Obama has signalled his desire to do so.

"We do not encourage inversion; in fact, it is something that would damage Ireland's interest and we don't want to see it."

The minister said Ireland was not in the market for convenient tax moves but was looking for companies to relocate here as a competitive country in which to build a strong base in the European market.

State investment agency IDA Ireland has been ordered to draw up a new strategy on multinational investment with targets for jobs, investments and regions.

Barry O'Leary, chief executive of IDA Ireland, said the country remained one of the most attractive business locations in the world.

"Even with all the investment we've been seeing in Ireland, we should continue to do everything possible to constantly renew the value proposition - that work never stops and Ireland's 12.5% tax rate, ability to source talent and emphasis on cost competitiveness will all be vital in the future," he said.

"Infrastructure, tax and talent will continue to be the areas where countries like Ireland compete for international investment."

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