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Unemployment

Has the fall in long-term unemployment numbers plateaued? If so, a more targeted approach may be required to get us back to the low levels of the 2000s.

Under-employment seems to have stopped falling. Yet at over 100,000 people it remains high and this spare economic capacity might, at a practical level, mean that thousands are struggling financially. It also suggests that we are further from full employment than government would like us to believe and these under-employed people could, along with some other categories, conceivably swell real unemployment numbers by almost 170%.

This annex accompanies chapter 5 – Work, Unemployment and Job Creation of Social Justice Matters 2019: a guide to a Fairer Irish society

Budget 2019 was an opportunity to fix, or begin to fix, many of the unjust policy moves implemented during the financial crisis. Several policy changes were enacted during that time which were arbitrary in nature: unfair, unjustifiable, and purely for the purpose of saving money. Reducing Jobseeker's rates for young people was one of these.

With significant resources available in Budget 2019, it is time to address an unjustifiable discrimination against younger people. The rate of severe deprivation among 18-24 year olds increased twice as fast as it did for the general population between 2007 and 2015. Removing the tiered approach to Jobseekers Allowance would help to reverse this.

The Government’s new Pensions plan has missed the opportunity to provide a Universal Pension as a basic right to all citizens. It has also failed to address major issues around equity, sustainability and bureaucracy that have underpinned Ireland’s pension system for generations. Read Social Justice Ireland's new report: A Universal State Social Welfare Pension.

31 per cent of working-age people with a disability are employed, which is less than half the rate of those without a disability, according to Social Justice Ireland’s latest Quarterly Employment Monitor.

Social Justice Ireland's Quarterly Employment Monitor, published December 2017, may be accessed here. It deals with the issues of disability in the labour force, as well as emerging trends in precarious work and low pay.

Social Justice Ireland's work on developing a Universal Basic Income for Ireland was acknowledged by Noel Whelan in his op-ed article in The Irish Times on September 15, 2017.

Ireland’s National Minimum Wage does not allow people to live what is considered a minimum socially acceptable standard of living in Ireland, and the planned increase in 2018 will not do much to change that. The high proportion of workers earning below the Living Wage is the focus of Issue 5 of the Employment Monitor.

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