Thursday, 7 March 2019

Ceisteanna (14)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

14. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her views on the regional spread of additional jobs added over the 12 months of 2018. [11230/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Since the launch of the Regional Action Plan for Jobs (RAPJ) there has been an increase of 266,900 people in employment across the State since Q1 2015 to Q4 2018, with 166,400 people in the regions outside of Co. Dublin entering employment in that period.

The recently published Q4 2018 CSO Labour Force Survey employment figures are overall very positive. Figures show that employment continues to grow strongly with 50,500 jobs created in the year from Q4 2017 to Q4 2018. This brings total employment to 2,281,300, the highest number at work ever recorded.

During this period, the number of people employed and the unemployment rate decreased in all regions. While the number of people in employment increased in six of the eight regions in the last year, the exceptions to this are the Mid-West and the Border region.

We remain committed to achieving an overall jobs uplift of between 10 and 15 per cent in each region by 2020 and to bring and/or maintain unemployment levels in each region to within at least one percentage point of the State average.

Unemployment has fallen in every region since the launch of the RAPJ in 2015. Only two regions, the Midlands and South-East are currently outside the unemployment target set for 2020.

Earlier this month I announced very good results from the Local Enterprise Offices around the country. Overall, they supported the creation of 3,656 new jobs (net) in 2018.

All regions saw increases in IDA employment over 2018, with the Midlands region experiencing the highest growth at 14 percent.

Also, two-thirds (64 percent) of new Enterprise Ireland jobs created in 2018 were outside of Dublin. The North West saw the largest level of increases at 9 percent.

In April 2018, I asked all the Regional Action Plan for Jobs Implementation Committees to start a process to refresh and refocus all Regional Plans to ensure their relevance and impact out to 2020, so that they continue to deliver jobs across the country, in every region, and can be robust to address the challenges we face, including Brexit.

The outcome of this refresh process is nine new Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020, which build on the very strong progress made on employment creation under the Regional Action Plan for Jobs 2015-2017. I am currently in the process of launching the new Plans, with eight Plans launched to date.

Shaped from the ‘bottom-up’ by regional stakeholders, and overseen by my Department, the new Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020 complement national level policies and programmes emanating from the ‘top-down’ and, there is strong alignment with Ireland’s national enterprise policy, Enterprise 2025 Renewed and the forthcoming Future Jobs Ireland initiative.

The principle behind the Regional Enterprise Plans is collaboration between regional stakeholders on initiatives that can help to realise the region’s enterprise development potential so that all regions can meet and exceed the regional job creation targets set to 2020. These stakeholders include: the Local Authorities, the LEOs, the enterprise agencies, the Regional Skills Forum, tourism bodies, private sector ‘enterprise champions’, and others.

It is also important to note that as well as meeting the numerical targets, it is also about creating jobs that are of good quality and sustainable over the longer term.

The Government is focused on this agenda at the national level through the Future Jobs Ireland initiative, and we are focused on this agenda through these new Regional Enterprise Plans.