I propose to take Questions Nos. 113 and 114 together.
This Government and my Department have placed the highest priority on achieving sustainable increases in employment in every county across the country. Through the Action Plan for Jobs process led by my Department we have had remarkable success in supporting businesses to create new jobs, with the unemployment rate now down to 4.4% from a high of over 15% in 2012. Of course we face new challenges, not least of which are Brexit and the digital revolution and the Government has a new strategy Future Jobs Ireland to ensure we can sustain the gains to date and build resilience in the enterprise base.
My Department and its agencies consistently engage with businesses throughout the country and across a variety of sectors to ensure an understanding of the existing and potential challenges faced by our businesses. This information is then used to develop Departmental policies and strategies that will help Irish companies to overcome obstacles and avail of opportunities in domestic and international markets.
It is vital that all businesses assess their vulnerabilities with regard to Brexit, and other economic challenges that may arise. It is particularly important that businesses examine their supply chains in detail and work towards addressing any identified weaknesses.
My Department, through its agencies, provide a wide range of supports to enable companies to consolidate market share within the UK and also to become more resilient by broadening their sales to other international markets.
2018 was a very strong year for job creation among Enterprise Ireland (EI) clients with 18,846 new jobs created. 2018 resulted in the highest client employment in the history of the agency, highest net job creation (9,119) in the history of the agency and the lowest number of jobs losses since 1998. 215,207 people are now employed in companies supported by EI.
IDA Ireland created 14,040 net new jobs over the course of 2018, with every region in Ireland posting net gains in jobs. At the end of 2018 there were 229,057 people working in IDA Ireland client companies, the highest in IDA Ireland’s history. This figure surpasses the five-year target of 209,000 which was set in 2015 in IDA Ireland’s “Winning; Foreign Direct Investment” strategy.
Surveys undertaken in 2018, revealed a strong performance by agency client companies in 2018 with, exports amounting to approximately €189bn, up 9.6% from the previous year. These companies spent €24.9bn on payroll, Irish materials and Irish Services and capital expenditure in 2017.
In 2018 the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) saw continued growth in jobs with a total of 8,007 new jobs created and a net job increase of 3,656. The LEOs also provided training to 34,938 people and mentoring, including one to one mentoring support to 9,625 participants across all 31 LEOs.
The statistical tables below present the figures for the following:
- IDA Ireland Site Visits by County from 2009 to 2018*;
- Total number of new jobs created by County by IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland from 2009 to 2018;
- Total number of new jobs created by County by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) from 2014 to 2018**;
- IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland grant payments by County from 2009 to 2018***;
- Local Enterprise Office grant payments by County from 2014 to 2018**;
- County Enterprise Board grant payments for Co. Meath from 2009 to 2013.
* Enterprise Ireland and the LEOs do not arrange site visits of a type similar to IDA Ireland.
** The data supplied for the Local Enterprise Offices is for five years from their inception in 2014. Statistics are only available for a county area and not local areas as requested.
*** The information on grants paid to IDA client companies in 2018 will be made available once they have been audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General. Enterprise Ireland Payments Report excludes infrastructural clients, recipients of Employment Subsidy Schemes I and II, Community Enterprise Centres and Shannon Free Zone transfer companies, and Innovation Partnerships & Innovation Vouchers.