Social Protection Minister Joan Burton has welcomed the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office which show an annual reduction of 20,976 in the numbers on the Live Register, a decrease of 4.6%.
The Minister said the figures, coupled with separate employment data published last week by the CSO, showed that the Government was making progress in getting people back to work.
The economic chaos which this Government inherited on taking office meant there was a very real risk that the Live Register would exceed 500,000. We stabilised the economy as a first priority and the results are now being seen.
The number of people on the Live Register has fallen from 469,713 in August 2011 to 435,280 now. Although those numbers remain far too high, real progress is being made, and getting people back to work will remain the Government’s number one priority.
Minister Burton also welcomed the fact that long-term unemployment is decreasing. The Quarterly National Household Survey published by the CSO at end-August showed the long-term unemployment rate is now 8.1%, down from 9.2% a year earlier.
The Minister said Pathways to Work 2013, the Government’s 50-point action plan to tackle long-term unemployment, will build on the progress made over the past year.
Pathways to Work 2013 builds on the work done to date, and will accelerate the fight against long-term unemployment. Our core aim is to engage with every unemployed person to make sure that their first day out of a job is also their first step on the pathway back to work.
This is central to our new Intreo service, which provides jobseekers with the employment supports they need in addition to income supports. This is also why the Department of Social Protection is spending over €1 billion this year on work, training and education places and related supports which will benefit 85,000 people.
My focus is on ensuring that the Department provides both a safety net for those who need it but also a springboard back to work. The Live Register figures, combined with the QNHS data, show that we are succeeding in that goal.