510. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the extent of youth unemployment throughout the country, by county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 51210/17 asked on 29 Nov 2017)
Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The official measure of unemployment, based on the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) indicates that the youth unemployment rate has fallen from a peak of 31% in 2012 to 14% in October 2017. Overall youth unemployment has fallen from well above the EU average in 2012 to well below the EU average of 16.6% in September 2017 (latest Eurostat data available).
Youth unemployment statistics from the QNHS are not available at the county level.
Administrative data from the Live Register include, as well as people who are unemployed, others who are working part-time or on a casual basis and receiving partial jobseekers’ payments. They may nonetheless give some indication of the trend in, if not the level of, youth unemployment, and are available at the county level. The number of young people signing on at DEASP offices in each county in October 2012 and October 2017 is set out in Table 1 below.
Table 1. Under 25 on Live Register by county Oct 2012 – Oct 17
Overall, the number of young people on the Register has fallen by 62% over this period, with the declines at the county level ranging from 52% to 68%.
Government policy to reduce unemployment is twofold. First, through policies set out in the Action Plan for Jobs, to create an environment in which business can succeed and create jobs; and second, through Pathways to Work to ensure that as many of these new jobs and other vacancies that arise in our economy are filled by people taken from the Live Register, including young people.
The overall reduction in youth unemployment, and the indications from the Live Register that this improvement has been spread widely across the country, suggests that this approach has been relatively successful.
I am confident these policies, and continuing economic recovery, will support further reductions in youth unemployment and add to the substantial improvements that have already been seen over the last few years.