Commenting on the latest Labour market figures Sinn Féin Economy spokesperson, Daithí McKay said that youth unemployment is the most pressing issue for the Executive.
Mr McKay said:
“While any reduction in the over-all unemployment figures is to be welcomed I believe that the most pressing issue for the Executive is youth unemployment. There are 21,000 or 20.4% unemployed 18-24 year-olds in the north.
“A report published by PWC in 2012 estimated that youth unemployment costs the local economy at least £250 million per year
“The limited fiscal and economic powers available to the Executive constrain the extent to which we can address youth unemployment.
“Without the powers over tax, benefits and employment the North cannot effectively create youth employment programmes or grow the local economy.
“The British government’s decision not to adopt the EU Youth Guarantee Scheme disadvantages the north and puts the onus on the Executive to develop its own scheme.
“At present it seems there is little political will on behalf of the Employment and Enterprise Ministers to introduce such a scheme in the north.
“The most efficient way to address youth unemployment, I believe, is through the development of a single youth policy agenda for the island with joined up policy-making across departments north and south.
“Greater flexibility would allow the north to work collaboratively with the south to develop an island wide youth guarantee scheme.”