Social Welfare trap still preventing employment growth.
Government wage promises not helpful.
At the release of the Live Register figures today (1st October), ISME, Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, welcomed the decrease in unemployment but expressed a concern at the continuing electioneering promises slowing down the jobs drive. The Association warned that business costs are the main determinant of jobs growth and that the government needed to refocus on this to reach its employment targets.
The seasonally adjusted Live Register figure currently stands at 9.4%. There are now 337,300 people signing on the dole, a reduction of 3,700 in the month. Long-term claimants still account for 47.1% of the total.
Mark Fielding, ISME CEO, commented, “It has become very clear in recent months that real employment growth has slowed down. The reason for this is the constant flow of pre-election promises which increase labour costs for business. SME owners are holding back on recruitment until some certainty on the costs of promised minimum wage, paternity, parental leave, PRSI and pensions. It is essential that the Budget clarifies these issues”.
“Issues such as the high percentage of long-term unemployed and those caught in a social welfare trap also continue to be key concerns. Social welfare anomalies make it too expensive for many SMEs to fill part-time and entry level roles and prevent recipients from gaining valuable work experience.”
The Association called on the Government to:
Clarify, once and for all, the position on wage costs for business.
Focus on cost-competitiveness related to our international competitors.
Overhaul the social welfare system to make it worthwhile for people to work.
Increase job-rich infrastructure investment.
Attack the scourge of ever-increasing black-market activity.
“Government ministers must stop the electioneering promises which are costing jobs. We expect that Budget 2016 will lay out the time and scale of wage cost increases so that business can decide on their future plans, including potential employment growth. This government will be judged on jobs created, not on utopian promises of unsustainable wage structures”, concluded Fielding.