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CO CLARE is close to reaching full employment.

In Ireland, employment numbers topped 2.5m for the first time in February, 229,100 more people were employed in the Republic of Ireland last year, up 10.1 per cent on 2020 at 2,506,000, setting a new record.

The Central Bank is predicting unemployment will fall to 5.3 per cent next year and to 4.9 per cent in 2024, a level that is consistent with full employment in the Irish economy.

Last month, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) estimated there was as many as 180,745 people classified as being either out of work or in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). The figures come amid labour shortages across several sectors in Clare and across the country.

Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting of the Shannon Municipal District, Director of Economic Development with Clare County Council, Liam Conneally detailed that the Mid-West region was on its way to reaching full employment.

“It is something that we might take for granted but our economy is providing jobs at a ferocious rate,” he commented. Foreign direct investment (FDI) numbers between 2019 to 2021 were labelled as “very considerable” for the Mid-West region.

Conneally added, “We’re close to reaching full employment which is very significant from a Clare and Mid-West point of view, very considerable job creation is happening in our economy which in turn yields significant tax for us in local Government to improve our infrastructure”.

Clare County Council’s line of communication with IDA Ireland was described as “unprecedented” with the local authority delivering on requests for touchdown space. He also praised Enterprise Ireland and its CEO, Leo Clancy for valuing the importance of the region.

Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) welcomed the positive trends in the economy but warned of other difficulties. “We know Clare is the hub of employment but it needs to be the hub of community living. The availability of homes for people in Clare for purchase or renting, there is practically not a home to be rented in the county. Economic development is relative to the communities, people that come here developing businesses cannot live here, that is a problem”.

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