120,000 people unemployed should not constitute ‘full employment’ – Maurice Quinlivan TD
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD today questioned the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection about figures outlined in the government’s Summer Economic Statement which show the number of people unemployed is projected to remain at 120,000 from 2019 onwards.
Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Deputy Quinlivan said;
“Page thirteen of the Summer Economic Statement states that ‘the unemployment rate is expected to fall to five and a half per cent by 2019, remaining at this level over the remainder of the forecast horizon’ which is until at least 2021 as outlined in the document.
“Using the projected total employment figures provided, this would equate to around 120,000 people defined as unemployed each year, from 2019 through to 2021 at least, with no ambition to get this figure any lower.
“I do not accept that 120,000 people without a job can constitute full employment.
“I am concerned that many of these people are construction workers who were not able to re-enter the industry when it recovered or young people who graduated school or college at precisely the wrong economic time.
“This is reflected in the higher rates of youth unemployment and the fact that over half of all those unemployed are categorised as long term unemployed.
“Limerick still suffers from the legacy of the recession, and has 18 unemployment blackspots in 2017, the highest across the state.
“Although recent job announcements in the city are very welcome, we need a range of employment opportunities and jobs to suit people from all backgrounds.
“I recently learned that €13 million less in funding than previously announced will be provided for apprenticeship training in 2018, a step in the wrong direction if we are to address the levels of youth unemployment.“This government needs to address this issue, and put in place measures to ensure more people have the opportunity to get back to work, and not accept that 120,000 people without a job should constitute full employment.”