The shocking truth – 123,000 unemployed

Considering that the so-called “green shots of recovery” have failed to appear in the economy and with major questions marks over the European and world economy, the decision of the Assembly to make £4billion cuts is economic madness. Even before the Assembly Executive begins to carry out these cuts, the scale of actual unemployment is truly shocking. The number of unemployed persons in December 2010 was 68,000 (8%), up 18,000 over the year. Nearly 50% have been unemployed for a year or more. The unemployment rate for 18-24 year olds is at 22.5% – up 10.5% over the past year.

The Northern Ireland economic inactivity rate for those aged 16-64 stands at 28.4% (This is significantly higher than the UK average of 23.4%). These figures for the economically inactive do show that 10% of the total (55,000) want employment but do not satisfy the job seekers criteria because they have other commitments, for example out of the total of 558,000, 27% are students and 24% are homemakers.

When the numbers for economically inactive people who want to return to work are viewed in tandem with unemployment figures, this brings the total unemployment figure in Northern Ireland up to 123,000 which as a percentage of the total workforce is a hefty 19%!

It is altogether more astounding as we are just at the beginning of the £4billion cuts which will bring about even more job losses. An estimated 30,000 to 40,000 job losses are expected as a result of the cuts.

This stark reality needs to be brought to the doorstep of Stormont. Instead of making huge cuts to services and paying international banks billions every year, this money should be used to launch a major public works programme to create jobs and get people off the dole. The capitalist market system has failed to create jobs. We need to fight for socialist policies to put the needs of people first, not the profits of the fat cats.

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