Higher education crucial to recovery

“The Taoiseach recently suggested that the numbers unemployed in Ireland could reach 400,000 by the end of 2009. If this occurs, it will mean that the numbers on the live register will have risen by more than 220,000 from 179,600 in 2008 – an increase of 120 per cent in one year. While the rapidity of this rise is unprecedented, we are still some way off the worst of the 1980s. The unemployment rate for 1986 reached 17 per cent and as recently as 1993 was at 15.5 per cent. Even the most pessimistic projections for the unemployment rate for 2009 fall some way short of these rates. Still, unemployment is now once again likely to emerge as the biggest single economic and social challenge facing Ireland in the coming years. There are some important differences between the current crisis and that of the 1980s. Unemployed people today have far more marketable skills than before …” (more)

[Tom Collins, Irish Times, 24 February]

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