Almost 19,000 jobs were lost in the mid east counties of Meath, Wicklow and Kildare between the fourth quarter in 2008 and 2013.
It was the only region where official unemployment rose, however slightly, in 2013. Nationally, job numbers fell 173,700 over the five years but there was a 60,900 increase in those in employment in 2013.
Of that, just 400 of these jobs were in the mid East, of which Kildare comprises around 40% of the labour force and population. The mid east had 92.7% of the jobs in 2013 that it had in 2008.
While there were 258,100 people aged 15 or over in the Mid East Labour Force in Q4 2013 (up from 257,700 in Q4 2012), the numbers in jobs was 225,900 (225,500 in Q4 2012). This represents an annual increase of 400.
The official unemployment rate fell by two per cent for the State as a whole to 11.7% in Q4 2013, compared to a rise of 0.1 (one tenth of one percent) from 12.4 to 12.5% in the Mid East, the only region where unemployment rose last year. It fell 1.1% to 10% in Dublin.
The CSO figures show, however, that official labour force participation rate in the Mid East in Q4 2013 was 63.3%, higher than any region including the State figure (60.1%).
Speaking at a NUIM seminar on 4 March, entitled “We’re Not Leaving,” NUIM sociology lecturer, Mary Murphy said Ireland’s youth was “paying the price for their elders’ crisis” and that “new forms of employment protection legislation are required to safeguard against negative and perilous forms of atypical work.”
There is only one job vacancy for every 32 job seekers, there remains significant shortfall in youth labour market programmes and 85% of youth on the live register previously worked, she said.
Kildare North TD, Emmet Stagg, said this week a Council housing building programme should be included on the €6bn infrastructure plan to create 60,000 jobs. and sectors with potential for growth.
The Labour TD said reliance on the private rented sector was not an option. adding: “That is now accepted as a costly failure.”