The job outlook in Ireland seems to be improving, at least according to the latest figures coming from the Central Statistics Office (CSO). Benjamin Disraeli once said that there are three kinds of lies: ‘lies, damned lies, and statistics’, yet it is difficult not to feel a sense of optimism given the CSO report, which claims that rates of unemployment in Ireland are falling, while employment rates are steadily growing.
The figures have their critics of course. They suggest that it is only natural for unemployment rates to drop when thousands of people are emigrating each day. Then there is the contentious reliability of ‘live register’ figures – those on a JobBridge internship, for instance, or those undergoing government-supported training, are not included on the live register, though they are still technically ‘unemployed’.
A riposte may come in the form that while people on such schemes are not receiving a taxable wage, they are still pursuing an intent to improve their prospects and employability – surely a significant step up from impoverishment without reasonable hope for improvement.
The other retort, of course, is that while unemployment figures can be debated to some extent, employment figures cannot. This is where the CSO figures begin to paint a genuinely rosy picture: 1,200 jobs are being created each week in the private sector. Over the last three months, some 22,500 jobs have been added.
There is always room for a critical eye, but sometimes good news is just good news.