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Unemployment down but over 100,000 people now 'trapped' in part-time work

Some of this work gives rise to increased dependency on State income supports like jobseekers benefit, new research shows.

Dunnes Stores workers protested in 2015 against zero hour contracts.
Dunnes Stores workers protested in 2015 against zero hour contracts.
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

OVER 100,000 PEOPLE in Ireland are working part-time because they cannot find full-time work.

This is according to new research which claims these people are “trapped in underemployment”. The report by Social Justice Ireland found some of this work actually gives rise to increased dependency on State income supports, with 13% of people in part-time employment also receiving reduced jobseekers allowance or benefit.

Ireland’s rate of low-paid employment is among the highest in the EU.

“Although many employment indicators are positive, hidden within headline employment figures are a number of problems, including significant underemployment, high levels of low pay, and hundreds of thousands of workers earning a wage that is below subsistence level,” commented research and policy analyst Michelle Murphy.

The research found the economy is still 129,100 jobs short of where it was in 2007, though unemployment has fallen by 1.7% over the last 12 months. Long-term unemployment, which recently fell below 100,000 for the first time in seven years, is still at 92,300 – more than half of the total unemployment figure.

“A change of narrative is required. Improving headline employment figures are important, but the drive for stronger job creation should not come at the cost of diminishing job quality and security,” Murphy said.

“In order to deliver such a public investment programme Ireland needs a new economic model. One that generates the necessary revenue to provide the services needed and that creates decent and appropriate employment for everyone in the country who wants it.”

Read: ‘It’s soul-destroying, like going for a job interview once a week and every time you don’t get it’>

Read: Young people view themselves as solo players at work>

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