Drop in city’s unemployed number fails to keep pace

Concern has been expressed that the numbers out of work in Galway are reducing at a lower rate than the rest of the country.

Galway West Independent TD Noel Grealish said that for the past 10 months, the fall in the numbers on the Live Register in Galway had been less than the national average. Latest figures show that the total number of people on the Live Register in Galway City and County at the end of February was just above 14,000, a drop of 11.6% on this time last year.

But nationally, the equivalent fall in the numbers out of work over the past year was almost 14%, said Deputy Grealish.

And he pointed out that Galway City was the poorest performer of all of the Irish cities in terms of reducing the numbers on the Live Register in recent months.

“At first glance the Live Register figures are good news – and indeed it is good that the number of people out of work is reducing.

“But I’m concerned that over the past year, and in the past few months in particular, Galway is starting to be left behind somewhat in terms of employment recovery.

“In the past six months, each of the monthly returns from the Central Statistics Office show the reduction in County Galway’s figures, compared with the same month a year previously, to be between 10% and 21% less than the reduction nationally.”

Deputy Grealish added that in Galway City, where the total number on the Live Register at the end of February was just over 7,000, it was worrying that while this represented a drop of more than 13% over the previous year, the city was being outstripped by all other cities in the country.

“Again, over the past six months, the reductions in Galway City every single month have been less than those in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford

“I think this highlights the ‘perfect storm’ that has been developing in Galway City in relation to housing and traffic.

“As I said in the Dáil a few weeks ago, I am certain that jobs have already been lost to Galway because of the traffic problems – I know of a number of companies that looked at the city in recent months and they decided not to locate here because of this.

“On top of that there is still a huge problem with a shortage of houses to buy, and a shortage of rental accommodation that has forced rents to become unaffordable for so many people.

“It’s great that we have fewer people out of work in Galway but unless there is a solution soon to these problems, there is a danger that we will be overtaken by other cities and counties which may become more attractive to potential investing companies,” added Deputy Grealish.

The latest figures for the end of February show the number on the Live Register in Galway City and County standing at 14,090, a reduction of 1,843 on the February 2016 total, or down 11.6%.

The biggest percentage drop was in Galway City (7,028, down13%), followed by Ballinasloe (1,671, down 11.3%), Tuam (2,071, down 10.1%), Clifden (881, down 10%), Loughrea (1,402, down 9.7%), and Gort (1,037, down 8.9%).

Galway City’s 13% reduction contrasts unfavourably with the falls in other cities – Cork -17.6%, Limerick -16%, Dublin -13.3% and Waterford -13%.