The latest publication of the Labour Force Survey was released on 21 May 2019 and is the official measure of unemployment. The most recent data shows that the national unemployment rate fell from a peak of 15% in 2012 to 4.8% by Q1 2019. Unemployment decreased by 18,500 (13.9%) in the year to Q1 2019 bringing the total number of persons unemployed to 114,400.
Within the Mid-East region, which includes County Wicklow, unemployment has fallen from a peak of 17% in 2013 to 4.1% by Quarter 1 2019 with numbers in employment increasing from 272,400 in Q4 2013 to 341,300 by Q1 2019.
While data from the Labour Force Survey is not available at the county level, trends in the Live Register can give an indication of underlying trends in local employment.
Overall, the live register in Wicklow has fallen by 51.5% in the 5 years to April 2019, from 11,412 to 5,533. In the year to April 2019, the live register in Wicklow has fallen by just over 13%, in line with national trends.
Government policy to reduce unemployment is twofold. The polices set out in the Action Plan for Jobs have created an environment in which business can succeed and has led to the creation of almost 400,000 jobs in Ireland since the economic low point of 2012. Secondly, through the Pathways to Work strategy, my Department ensures that as many new jobs as possible are filled by people taken from the live register, particularly the long-term unemployed.
Currently there are 8 case officers in the Intreo service in Wicklow. A total of 2,883 customer engagements have taken place in 2019 between January and end May. The Bray Local Employment Service has also carried out 1,399 customer engagements in the same period.
Additionally, my Department has organised events for Jobseekers in County Wicklow. For example, during Jobs Week in March of this year, 16 employers and 13 service providers participated in the Jobs, Careers and Training Fair in Bray Institute of Further Education, which was attended by approximately 1,500 jobseekers.
To date the policies being pursued under the Action Plan for Jobs and under Pathways to Work have been effective in reducing unemployment, both nationally and in Wicklow.