Report: Ireland's Unemployment Rate Twice The Eurozone Average

Wednesday, 12 Dec 2012 08:58 AM

By Bill Hoffmann

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DUBLIN — Unemployment in Ireland is worse than ever with the proportion of households without a working adult is the highest out of all 31 European countries, a new economic report reveals.

In fact, Ireland’s jobless rate is more than double that of the eurozone average, according to the study by the Dublin-based Economic and Social Research Institute.

It says that in 2010, about 22 percent of households in Ireland were without work as compared to the eurozone average of just over 10 percent.

Even during Ireland’s “Celtic Tiger’’ years of huge economic growth “the rate of joblessness at [the] household level was very high by European standards.’’

The report said one issue that Ireland was lax in addressing was making changes to its welfare system.

“Welfare reforms to encourage work were introduced in a number of European countries, such as the United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands in the 1990s and Germany in the 2000s,’’ according to the report.

“Such reforms were not given the same emphasis in Ireland. The Irish welfare system is defined by its complexity, with a diverse range of different benefits available to working-age adults. While the payment rates are quite similar, each scheme has its own set of rules regarding the assessment of means, tapering arrangements and earnings disregards.’’

Joan Burton, Ireland’s Minister for Social Protection said she is particularly concerned about “children living in jobless households. There are grave social and economic risks in letting almost a quarter of Irish children grow up in jobless households.

“These risks include child poverty, limited educational achievements and ultimately, the intergenerational transmission of unemployment and poverty,’’ she said.

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