There are number of contributory factors leading to the fall in the number of persons on the Live Register in County Kildare since January 2018. By way of background and context, the live register in Kildare has fallen from a total of 9,983 in January 2018, to a total of 8,095 in January 2019 – that is a decrease of 19%. Looking across Kildare, the decrease in live register was 17% in Athy (South Kildare), 16% in Newbridge (Central Kildare) and was 24% in Maynooth (North Kildare). The average decrease over the past 12 months of 19% is slightly ahead of the national decrease of c. 17% over the past twelve months.
The Kildare economy is quite diverse with continued growth in retail, warehousing, logistics, ICT, bio-pharma, agri-food, equine and the services sectors, in particular.
The proximity of Kildare to the Dublin City is likely to be a significant factor in the growth of these sectors and the decline of the live register and a decline that is higher than the national average. To put it in context, the Greater Dublin Area, a region that comprises Dublin and counties Meath, Kildare and Wicklow accounts for approximately 40% of the population of the State; generates approximately 53% of Ireland’s GDP and generates approximately 59% of Ireland’s personal income tax revenue and almost 67% of Ireland’s corporate tax revenue. The population of this area continues to grow and this too is likely to generate additional economic activity and employment opportunities.
The Mid-East Regional Enterprise Plan has a well-established collaborative approach to create and maintain jobs involving the Chamber of Commerce, Third level institutes, private businesses, Enterprise Ireland, IDA, KWETB and my own Department. Likewise, the Mid-East Regional Skills Forum provides a similar collaborative structure to enhance an understanding of employers' skills needs; and it aims to enhance the links with industry and education and training providers. My Department is also represented on this group.
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection continues to work with other Government Departments to implement the Pathways to Work Programme 2016-2020. Among a wide range of actions, we have increased the frequency and quality of engagement with registered Jobseekers; ensure that ‘work pays’ when people who are unemployed transition from welfare to employment; facilitate and advance recruitment levels from the Live Register; and operate the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan.
Participation rates in the Community Employment Schemes in County Kildare is very strong and this offers an important mechanism for jobseekers to gain new skills while gaining valuable work experience assisting them in transitioning into full time employment. Our activation programme is also enhanced by the contracted services provided by JobPath contractors (Turas Nua) and the Local Employment Service (LES) and Employability in County Kildare.
While it is difficult to highlight one specific reason for the fall in the live register over the past 12 months, these ongoing collective measures which build on actions from private enterprise, Government Departments and government supported agencies have collectively contributed to the on-going fall in the live register in Kildare.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.