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This is why Joan Burton is hailing a ‘landmark moment’ in Ireland’s recovery

Just don’t mention the regional unemployment.

Táinaste Joan Burton
Táinaste Joan Burton
Image: Brian Lawless/PA Archive

IRELAND’S JOBLESS RATE has dropped below 9% for the first time since the end of 2008, according to the latest unemployment figures.

Tánaiste Joan Burton said it was a landmark moment in Ireland’s economic recovery as more people took up full-time work.

“Behind every new job is a person or family benefitting in their own lives from the wider recovery,” she said.

The CSO’s national household survey showed 56,000 more people had jobs in the third quarter of the year than during the same period in 2014.

There was an even-larger increase in the number of workers with full-time jobs, while the total in part-time employment dropped.

CSO1 Source: CSO

The CSO’s estimates for October put the seasonally adjusted jobless rate at 8.9%, the lowest figure since December 2008.

Over the past year, the biggest increase in employment came in the construction sector, which has slowly been bouncing back after it was decimated with the collapse of the property bubble.

Jobs in the broad industry category had the next-highest growth, while the combined financial, insurance and real estate sector experienced the biggest fall.

There were also over 2,000 fewer people on activation programmes in September than during the same month in 2014, although the total of 74,274 was an increase of more than 20,000 since September 2008.

The number of people on the controversial JobBridge scheme stood at 4,693, down from a peak of 6,977 in mid-2014.

CSO2 Source: CSO

Commenting on the employment data, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said:

Today’s news is an important milestone which gives us confidence that the plan is working, but we must keep our eyes on the prize and continue carefully implementing the policies necessary to deliver the jobs we need.”

Bruton Jobs Minister Richard Bruton Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

‘Regional inequality’

But the CSO figures also revealed the already yawning gap in jobs growth between different regions continued to widen.

The unemployment rate in Dublin was only 8%, while the rates in the mid-east and south-west of the country were also below the national average.

That compared to a jobless rate of 12.4% in the midlands, which had the worst unemployment of any region, and 12.1% in the south-east. Meanwhile in Ireland’s west, the number of people in work fell against the same time last year.

90317708 Source: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

Ibec senior economist Gerard Brady said the “regional spread of the recovery remains a challenge” with employment growing more than twice as fast in Dublin than the rest of the country.

“This will increase the pressure on housing and infrastructure in the short term and exacerbate regional inequalities over the long-term,” he said.

The twin challenges of effective regional development and long-term under-investment must form a key part of the upcoming election debate.”

READ: There was an almighty jump in rents while everyone waited for price controls >

READ: It looks like just 200 council houses will be built in the whole of 2015 >

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