Minister for Employment and Small Business Pat Breen believes employment growth in the Midwest is not only an endorsement of Government policy, but a vote of confidence by big businesses in the local workforce as they continue to invest in the region.

“The Quarterly National Household Survey figures from the Central Statistics Office has revealed that the Midwest was the fastest growing region in terms of employment during 2016, employment figures grew by 7.4%,” said Pat Breen. He added, “In the last few months we have seen numerous jobs announcements by multi-national companies both in Clare and Limerick which is a clear indication that these businesses are willing to invest in the region and our workforce.

“This Government has also prioritised supporting small business and is investing more in the self employed with the introduction of new PRSI measures. These policies are encouraging entrepreneurship and allowing small business to expand, thereby creating more jobs. Initiatives such as the Action Plan for Jobs continue to drive enterprise growth; deliver on skills for our growing economy; promote innovation and stimulate regional growth. As a result approximately 1,300 jobs a week were created in 2016. There are now 205,900 more people at work, since the Action Plan for Jobs was launched in early 2013.

“I’m also pleased that 70% of the 66,100 new jobs announced last year were outside Dublin. Bringing jobs to the regions has been, and will continue to be, a key focus for this Government. This investment in jobs and the economy has also seen unemployment fall to 6.8% , but we cannot become complacent about these figures. Government job strategies are in place not only to expand our employment rate further, but to also protect our growth to date by addressing new labour market challenges and responding quickly and effectively to Brexit.”