32,000 new jobs created in Kilkenny and South East over past six years: report
KILKENNY and the South East is making steady progress in cutting unemployment and increasing the labour force.
That’s the main message from Alan Quirke, recently appointed Director of the Ireland South East Development Office, in a new bulletin.
It says more than 32,000 jobs have been created over the past six years in the South East region and the unemployment rate has continued to fall from a peak of 15.9% in 2012 to 7.7% in 2018.
“The South East is making steady progress in terms of falling unemployment, increasing employment and a growing labour force,” said Mr Quirke.
“Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland have posted record jobs numbers in the South East for 2018 and cutting-edge companies such as Bausch + Lomb, Glanbia and MSD have committed to investing around €500 million in the region in the last six months.”
Mr Quirke praised the cost competitiveness of the region where average house prices are one third of those in South Dublin, general costs of living are over one third cheaper than Dublin and childcare costs are the cheapest in the country.
“This is adding to the high quality of life that the region already offers and is a great basis from which to build the South East as the first choice for business, careers, inward investment and tourists,” he said.
The bulletin, Ireland’s South East: Economy At A Glance, looks at the performance of the regional economy over the past year.
It cites CSO figures showing that there are now 187,700 people employed in the region.
“This represents a net increase of 4,300 over the year,” said Mr Quirke. “The unemployment rate has maintained a downward trend, falling to 7.7% in Q4 2018 from 8.1% in Q4 2017”.
He concedes, however, that “while this is encouraging, the region is still over 1% away from meeting the target of closing the gap to within one percentage point of the national average by 2020.”
Jobs in IDA client companies are up 7% in the year, to 15,580 employees while Enterprise Ireland client companies are up 5% to 22,036.
“These figures are hugely encouraging,” said Mr Quirke. “Studies from the US show that for every one high-tech job created,up to five jobs are created in the local economy indirectly.”