Since the lowest point of the jobs crisis, the unemployment rate has fallen from a peak of over 15% to 11.8% at present. The long-term unemployment rate has fallen from 9.5% to 7.3%. The number of long-term unemployed has fallen from 204,000 in early 2012 to 156,000 at present. In terms of the Live Register, a target was set that 75,000 of those who were long-term on the Register at the beginning of 2012 would move into employment by the end of 2015; the number who have already done so is now over 46,000 and we are well on track to beating our target –a target that was considered by many to be overly ambitious.
The Department operates four main schemes whose purpose is to provide a pathway to employment:
- JobsPlus is targeted specifically at encouraging employers to recruit people who are long-term unemployed. Over 2,300 long-term unemployed people have been placed in employment as a result of JobsPlus and over 60% of these have been unemployed for 2 years or more.
- Community Employment and Tús provide work experience opportunities for long term unemployed jobseekers mainly within the community and voluntary sector. The numbers of participants on Community Employment and Tús as of May 2014 were 23,150 and 7, 379 respectively up from 21,250 and 5131 in May 2013.
- The JobBridge scheme provides a stepping stone for unemployed people to employment in the wider economy. The Scheme is specifically intended to give jobseekers an opportunity to increase their employability through real-workplace experience. In May 2014 there were just under 6,900 participants on the Scheme. To date nearly 30,000 people have participated in the scheme. Evaluation results indicate that 61% of leavers from JobBridge find employment within 5 months of leaving their internship. The independent research indicates that JobBridge, based on 2011 and 2012 performance generated positive value to the exchequer.