Irish recovery underway, says OECD

Irish recovery is underway, but more inclusive growth and job creation is needed, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Ireland’s economy is now showing encouraging signs of recovery from the financial crisis, but more must be done to reinvigorate growth and create the jobs that will get the country back to full health, according to the OECD.

These are key conclusions of the latest Economic Survey of Ireland and a new report: Local Job Creation: How Employment and Training Agencies Can Help. Both identify employment and social inclusion issues as vital to Ireland’s continuing rebound from the crisis, its prospects of growth and the wellbeing of Irish people.

The Economic Survey, presented in Dublin by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría and Irish Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore, points to an ongoing, gradual emergence from the crisis. Activity is slowly recovering, the external deficit has been eliminated and the country has had success in regaining access to market financing, the report says.

In the context of a continued recovery Secretary-General Gurría said: “What’s needed today is a strategic agenda for more inclusive growth that promotes job creation and social equity by harnessing the power of entrepreneurship and innovation.”

While the unemployment rate recently began to decline, joblessness remains a serious concern, according to the report. More than 13% of the labour force remains unemployed, with more than 60% out of work for more than 12 months, among the highest rates in the OECD.

Young people have been especially hard hit by the jobs crisis. The youth unemployment rate is 28.6%, while the number of young people emigrating continues to mount. At 11.3%, Ireland has the OECD’s third-largest share of 15 to 19 year olds who are neither employed nor in education or training (NEETs), behind only Turkey and Italy. The OECD is working closely with the Department of Social Protection to design a national action plan to implement the Youth Guarantee in Ireland, agreed at EU level under the country’s recent EU Council presidency. Initiatives like this will be crucial to tackling youth unemployment in Ireland.

The OECD recommends that Ireland do much more to assist the unemployed, notably long-term job-seekers. It points out a critical need for support and retraining, to ward against social exclusion and ensure that young people are prepared to work as the recovery strengthens. The local job creation report lays out new strategies to ensure that education and training programmes provide the skills needed in the labour markets of today and the future.

 

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