Ireland's unemployment drops below 8%

October 5, 2016 10:57 am 

DUBLIN, Oct. 5 — Ireland's unemployment has fallen from a peak of 15 percent in 2011 to 7.9 percent, according to official figures released on Tuesday.

The figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed the unemployment rate for September 2016 was 7.9 percent, down from the 8.2 percent in August 2016 and down from 9.1 percent in September 2015.

For the first time in eight years, there are more than two million people at work, according to the CSO.

Irish Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar welcomed the latest CSO figures, saying that the government would exceed its target of moving 20,000 people from long-term unemployment to work this year.

"Essentially, unemployment and long-term employment has fallen to almost half what it was at the depths of the recession, but I want to get it down even further," he said.

"My target is to bring unemployment down to between 5 percent and 6 percent and long-term unemployment to 2.5 percent, matching the performance of the most successful tier of countries in Europe. I want to move 100,000 people from welfare to work over the next five years," he added.

But the Irish minister said the government cannot afford to be complacent about the progress made to date.

"As unemployment falls, it gets harder to bring it down further, " he said. (PNA/Xinhua)

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