Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Ceisteanna (711)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

711. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of long-term unemployed in each county who have been unemployed for greater than one, three and more than five years, in tabular form; the number who have never worked; the programmes in place to help transition persons from long-term unemployment back into the workforce; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26521/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Labour Force Survey is the official measure of unemployment in the State. I am advised by the Central Statistics Office that data from the Labour Force Survey is not available at a county level, however regional figures that provide an average for 2018 of the number of persons unemployed for one year and over, three years and over and five years and over are set out below.

Meanwhile, the Labour Force survey does not ask respondents if they have never worked in any capacity. Rather, respondents are asked if they have never worked apart from in casual or holiday work, both of which may be a significant sources of employment for some people. On this basis, CSO estimates that the number of people who have been unemployed for at least one year and who have stated that they have never worked (other than in casual or holiday work) is approximately 9,700 at a national level (regional or age breakdowns are unavailable as the sample sizes are too small).

Number of unemployed persons by duration classified by NUTS3 Region, 2018

Region

Persons aged 15-74 years and in unemployment for one year and over (Thousands)

Persons aged 15-74 years and in unemployment for 3 years and over (Thousands)

Persons aged 15-74 years and in unemployment for 5 years and over (Thousands)

Border

3,600

1,900

[1,200]

West

5,800

3,200

2,100

Mid-West

5,400

2,400

[1,500]

South-East

6,500

3,400

2,100

South-West

6,400

3,200

2,000

Dublin

11,400

5,200

3,300

Mid-East

6,500

2,800

[1,600]

Midlands

4,300

2,300

1,700

Total

49,900

24,400

15,500

Parentheses [ ] estimates are considered to have a wider margin of error and should be treated with caution

Government policy to reduce unemployment is twofold. The policies set out in the Action Plan for Jobs have created an environment in which business can succeed and has led to the creation of more than 400,000 jobs since the economic low point. 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.

Activation Policy continues to focus on support measures for the long-term unemployed. The Pathways to Work strategy prioritises long-term unemployed people, most notably through targeted wage subsidies under JobsPlus; and through reserved places for long-term unemployed jobseekers on employment and training programmes. Furthermore, activation services provided by, or on behalf of my Department through contracted services, provide appropriate activation services for jobseekers in a one-to-one case managed way.

The table below outlines the latest available data on a range of activation programmes which are provided by my Department to the long term unemployed during the activation process to facilitate pathways to secure and sustainable full-time employment. Programme data for February 2019 is compared to February 2018 and shows a fall in participation levels which is in line with reduced levels of unemployment.

Activation Programmes (February 2018 and February 2019)

Activation Schemes

Feb-18

Feb-19

Back to Work Enterprise allowance scheme – self-employed strand.

9,188

6,075

Short-term Enterprise Allowance

344

286

Total - Back to Work schemes

9,532

6,361

Part-time Job Incentive

414

287

TÚS - Community Work Placement Initiative

6,347

6,373

Gateway (2013) (This programme closed in December 2018)

38

0

Other Activation Programmes

6,799

6,660

Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS)

3,309

3,019

Back to Education Allowance

10,704

8,665

Total - Back to Education Courses:

14,013

11,684

Community Employment Schemes (excluding Supervisors)

21,717

21,388

FAS (Solas) full time training for the unemployed

5,823

5,545

Government policy has been effective in reducing long-term unemployment. I welcome the most recent data from the CSO Labour Force Survey which shows that the rate of long-term unemployment in Ireland which peaked at 9.5% in 2012 has fallen to 1.7% by the first quarter of 2019. Ireland has therefore already brought the long term unemployment rate below 2.5%, a target set out in Pathways to Work 2016-2020.