Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Questions (299)

Robert Troy

Question:

299. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the regional job targets and unemployment rate projections under the programme for partnership Government for 2020 and Enterprise 2025, by year and region in tabular form; the latest CSO figures at hand relating to these targets; the monitoring and reporting mechanisms in place; the annual job targets for the 2020 to 2024 period nationally and regionally in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50024/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

At the peak of the economic boom in the 2000s, unemployment in the regions was never more than 1% above the national unemployment rate. During the economic crisis, unemployment was as much as 4.4 percentage points higher than the national average in some regions. In 2015, when Enterprise 2025 was published, this had ameliorated, with unemployment in any of the regions being not more that 3% above the national unemployment rate.

In Enterprise 2025, an ambitious target was set in 2015 for unemployment rates on a regional basis to be not more than 1 percentage point higher than the national rate by 2020.

In terms of regional employment performance, in Q1 of 2018, the regional NUTS classifications changed. The main changes at NUTS3 level are that South Tipperary has moved from the South East to the Mid-West NUTS3 region and Louth has moved from the Border to the Mid-East NUTS3 region. Thus, although only 2 counties have moved, the changes affected 4 of the 8 NUTS3 regions. The data has been back-cast to Q1 2012.

As indicated in Table 1 employment increased in all of the eight regions since publication of Enterprise 2025 in 2015.

Table 1: Progress in employment by region from Q1 2015 to Q3 2019. Non-seasonally adjusted data.

Employed

Unemployed (,000)

Unemployment Rate (%)

Region

Q1 2015

Q3 2019

Change Q1 2015- Q3 2019

Q1 2015

Q3 2019

Q1 2015

Q3 2019

Border

169,500

176,700

7,200

15.9

10.1

8.6

5.4

Midland

108,100

131,400

23,300

18.9

7.2

14.9

5.3

West

180,300

219,800

39,500

25.7

11.4

12.6

5

Dublin

600,900

717,800

116,900

60.1

33.5

9.1

4.5

Mid-East

294,900

343,600

48,700

31.1

22.2

9.6

6.1

Mid-West

196,500

217,800

21,300

26.8

10.9

12

4.8

South-East

169,200

190,100

20,900

22.3

14.9

11.7

7.3

South-West

295,000

329,700

34,700

34.5

17.8

10.5

5.1

State

2,014,400

2,326,900

312,500

235.2

128

10.5

5.2

In addition, as indicated in Table 2, the Q3 2019 regional unemployment rates are less than 1 per cent above the State average (5.2 per cent) for all regions with the exception of the South-East at 2.1 percent. The overall ‘outside Dublin’ unemployment rate is within 1 per cent of the national average.

Table 2: Unemployment Rate by regions and quarter, the changes from Q3 2018 to Q3 2019 (% points), and the deviation of the Q3 2019 regional unemployment rates from the state average. Non-seasonally adjusted data.

Region

Q3 2018

Q3 2019

Annual Change Q3 2018 to Q3 2019(% Points)

Difference from State Average (% Points)

Border

5.10%

5.40%

0.3%

-0.2%

Midland

7.10%

5.30%

-1.8%

-0.1%

West

6.60%

5.00%

-1.6%

0.2%

Dublin

5.30%

4.50%

-0.8%

0.7%

Mid-East

5.80%

6.10%

0.3%

-0.9%

Mid-West

7.20%

4.80%

-2.4%

0.4%

South-East

8.60%

7.30%

-1.3%

-2.1%

South-West

4.90%

5.10%

0.2%

0.1%

State

6.00%

5.20%

-0.8%

-

Outside Dublin

6.24%

5.55%

-0.7%

-0.3%

The Programme for a Partnership Government prioritised balanced regional development, targeting an unemployment rate in each county to be within one percent of the national average by 2020. County level unemployment rates are not available, hence data provided above is at regional level. A target to add 200,000 new jobs by 2020, including 135,000 outside of Dublin has been achieved.

Regional Enterprise Plans are crucial in meeting this target. A key objective of each of the plans is to have a further 10 to 15 per cent at work in each region by 2020, with the unemployment rate of each region within one percentage point of the national average. Three regions, Mid-East, West and Dublin, have now exceeded their 2020 targets. Focus is also on creating quality jobs that are sustainable in the longer term in line with Future Jobs Ireland ambitions.

In May 2017, my Department launched Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) with funding of up to €60m aimed at accelerating economic recovery in all regions of the country by delivering on the potential of local and regional enterprise strengths. This competitive fund supports significant collaborative and innovative regional initiatives to build on specific industry sectorial strengths and improve enterprise capability, thereby driving job creation.

In terms of 2020 targets, and beyond, the national unemployment rate for October 2019 was 4.8 per cent, down from 4.9 per cent in September. Future Jobs Ireland 2019 sets out a deliberate policy shift encourage quality and sustainable jobs. Skills availability and labour force development are now a key focus with targets focusing on labour force participation rates rather than unemployment rates. Future Jobs Ireland 2019 targets a substantial 3 percentage point increase in overall participation rates for people aged 25 to 69 years to 78% by 2025 with higher increases for females and older people.