Enterprise, Trade and Employment | To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise; Trade and Employment the extent to which he and his Department continue to reach the necessary targets in job creation to ensure full employment and economic progress in the future
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise; Trade and Employment the extent to which he and his Department continue to reach the necessary targets in job creation to ensure full employment and economic progress in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) published in June 2021 sets out the Government’s medium-term economic plan to rebuild Ireland’s economy. As well as committing to a package of supports and investments to assist enterprise recovery, the Plan outlines a medium-term policy framework to rebuild sustainable enterprises, encourage job creation and sustainable and balanced post pandemic growth.
Employment levels have recovered strongly as public health restrictions have been unwound. The employment rate for those aged 15-64 has rebounded from the pandemic to 73.0% in Q4 2021 compared to 67.0% in Q4 2020 and has exceeded the employment rate of 70.1% in Q4 2019. Similarly, the unemployment rate fell over the course of 2021 as the economy recovered. It is now approaching the pre-pandemic rate of 4.5% as the recovery continues.
Projects funded under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) are integrated into the Economic Recovery Plan, and reinforce the Government’s approach, which is focused on supporting recovery and job creation, advancing the green transition, and accelerating and expanding digital reforms and transformation.
The latest iteration of the national employment strategy – Pathways to Work 2021-2025 – will help unemployed people get back into employment through intense activation, upskilling and reskilling opportunities, and engaging with employers. It will have an overall target of over 100,000 additional caseloads per year, by expanding the caseload capacity of the Public Employment Service, reducing the risk of labour market scarring and long-term unemployment. There will be a particular focus on youth unemployment and working intensively with young people at greater risk of long-term unemployment, in recognition of the disproportionate effect of the pandemic on young people.
In addition to the work already underway, the Government is looking to prepare for the economy of the future. On 1 March 2022, Government agreed to the development of a White Paper on Enterprise Policy in 2022, led by my Department. The White Paper will set out set out an ambitious medium- to long-term direction for enterprise policy in response to challenges, opportunities and new drivers of growth catalysed by the Covid-19 pandemic, new economic and geopolitical realities, and an increased urgency to accelerate the decarbonisation of industry.
In so doing, the White Paper will articulate what needs to be done differently to realise this vision and to set out clearly the risks to be faced and the policy choices and trade-offs that will arise in order to maintain high-quality jobs, to protect the elements which make Ireland’s economy globally attractive for investment and to ensure a competitive Irish economy into the future.
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