Year on year, the recently published Q4 2018 CSO Labour Force Survey employment figures are overall very positive. In the year from Q4 2017 to Q4 2018 the figures show that employment continues to grow strongly with 50,500 jobs created, bringing total employment to 2,281,300, the highest number at work ever recorded.
The number of people in employment has increased in six of the eight regions in the year from Q4 2017 to Q4 2018. The exception to this is the Mid-West and the Border region.
In the year from Q4 2017 – Q4 2018, just under half (49 percent) of the new jobs created were for people living outside of Co. Dublin.
Recently, 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.
There has been an increase of 266,900 people in employment across the State since Q1 2015, when the Government first launched the Regional Action Plan for Jobs 2015-2017 (RAPJ), with 166,400 people in the regions outside of Co. Dublin entering employment in this Q1 2015 to Q4 2018 period.
In addition, unemployment has fallen in every region since the launch of the RAPJs. Only two regions, the Midlands and South-East, are currently outside the unemployment target set for 2020, i.e. over one percentage point greater than the State average.
Under the new Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020 for each of the nine regions, which I am currently launching, the Government remains 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.
The new Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020, will build on the very strong progress made on employment creation under the Regional Action Plan for Jobs 2015-2017. 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 recently launched 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.
As well as meeting the numerical targets, the new Regional Enterprise Plans are 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 is focused on this agenda through these new Regional Enterprise Plans.