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Live register shows slight drop as jobless builders get €35m from European fund

Live register shows slight drop as jobless builders get €35m from European fund

There was a slight drop in the standardised unemployment rate in September when it fell to 14.3pc from 14.4pc a month earlier.

However, the number of long-term unemployed continued to increase with 41.9pc of claimants on the dole for a year or more compared with 33.4pc in the same period last year.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, there was a decrease of 5,400 in the month of September bringing the seasonally adjusted total to 442,200.

The decrease follows four consecutive months of relatively low increases and it is first annual drop in the figures since April 2007 suggesting the figures are stabilising.

Meanwhile, thousands of unemployed builders will be provided with €35m from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund to help 5,967 construction workers get back to work.

The fund will mainly cover former workers from 3,348 small firms. And the proposal will need to be approved by the European Parliament.

“Construction in Europe, particularly in Ireland, has plummeted and its workers are facing huge difficulties in finding new opportunities. I am confident that the support and training the EGF can provide to the Irish workers will help them and allow a smooth transition to a new job,” said László Andor, EU Commissioner for employment, social affairs and inclusion.

“These applications demonstrate how the fund benefits workers from small and medium sized enterprises as well as those from larger companies,” he said.

The Irish applications relate to a total of 9,089 redundancies from small and medium sized enterprises operating in the construction sector. The dismissals were a direct consequence of the financial and economic crisis. Of the total 9,089 workers made redundant, the 5,987 workers with the greatest difficulties of re-integration into the labour market are targeted for assistance from the EGF.

The package will help the workers by providing them with occupational guidance, training programmes (vocational/second & third level education programmes), enterprise/self-employment supports, and training allowances and income supports.

The total estimated cost of the package is €55m, of which the European Union has been asked to provide EGF assistance of €35.7m.

When the crisis hit, the share of those employed in construction in Ireland dropped from 12.25pc at the end of 2007 to 9.2pc in the first half of 2009 and 6.25pc towards the end of 2010.

Following a decade of low unemployment of between 4pc and 6pc, the unemployment rate in construction increased more than six-fold between the second half of 2007 and the 2009. In mid-2009, one in three construction workers were out of work.

 The EGF was established by the European Parliament and the Council at the end of 2006. In June 2009, the EGF rules were revised to strengthen the role of the EGF as an early intervention instrument. It forms part of Europe’s response to the financial and economic crisis.

- Independent.ie reporters

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