Thursday, 8 December 2016

Questions (22)

Mick Wallace


22. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation her views on unemployment rates in County Wexford and the south east region, which have been consistently higher than the national average; if she has read the South East Economic Monitor Report from June 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39112/16]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

The economic crisis hit the South East’s job numbers badly with the loss of 37,800 jobs between 2007 and 2012.

As a result of a focused collaborative approach and a range of reforms delivered in the region over recent years, the unemployment rate has fallen from a peak of 20.1% in 2012 to the current rate of 10.4%.

The numbers on the Live Register in County Wexford have fallen by over 1,800 in the past year.

215,000 are now at work in the South East - an increase of 33,800 since 2012.

Since 2012 the South East has had the fastest rate of jobs growth, in percentage terms, of any region in the country.

While the current unemployment rate is still too high, these figures demonstrate that the overall trend is one of steady improvement – even since the publication in June of the South East Economic Monitor Report referred to by the Deputy.

The Regional Action Plans for Jobs initiative is a concrete example of the targeted approach undertaken to boost regional employment.

The core objective of the South East Plan is to realise the potential to have a further 25,000 at work in the region, including Wexford, by 2020 and the unemployment rate within the 1% of the State average.

In keeping with the medium to longer term ambition of the Regional Plans, these plans are not broken down on a yearly basis or by individual county.

Key sectors targeted as part of the Plan include agri-food, tourism, life sciences, manufacturing, retail and financial and business services.

I am committed to working with the various agencies and stakeholders in the South East to ensure that this trend continues and that sufficient sustainable jobs are ultimately created.

The first progress report has been completed and will be published shortly. The report will show that good progress is being made in the implementation of the South East Plan.