Unemployment rate drops to 10.6% in December 2014

13th January 2015 | News

Ireland’s unemployment rate continues to decline with official figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showing 10.6 per cent of people remain out of work.

The unemployment rate was down in December 2014 almost ten per cent on the same time last year.

Nearly 40,000 people came off the dole in 2014 – almost three-quarters of them male – according to the CSO report.

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) believes more could yet be done to encourage their members to create up to 60,000 new jobs in the next 12 months.

Mark Fielding, chief executive, ISME, has led the calls for a cut in employer PRSI rates to get the ball rolling.

“The economy is certainly showing fragile signs of recovery and the focus of SMEs is slowly switching from survival to revival mode,” said Fielding.

“However, increasing state-influenced business costs, including employer PRSI, are hampering the recovery.

“The latest exchequer figures signal the solid potential for employment initiatives to make the tax system more job friendly and allow SMEs to expand their workforce.”

Richard Bruton, Jobs Minister, revealed recently that every person that comes off the dole saves the State upwards of €20,000-a-year, allowing the Government to put money back in people’s pockets through tax cuts and enhancements to public services.

In addition, Joan Burton, Tanaiste and Social Protection Minister, confirmed applications are now being accepted for the new Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) scheme, which allows those returning to work to continue receiving welfare payments for their family.

“The Back to Work Family Dividend is a targeted additional support to assist families moving from welfare to work,” said Burton.

“It will help families to benefit from the economic recovery.”

The BTWFD scheme officially begins in April, but Burton intimated that welfare payments would be backdated to the time of initial application.