Following the announcement in January 2015 by Enda Kenny, taoiseach, that a full-employment target would be brought forward to 2018, Finfacts reported that Kenny had used fiddled figures and the Department of the Taoiseach had subsequently effectively acknowledged the fraud (see below). In April 2015 we reported that Department of Finance data showed that the full-employment target would not be met in either 2018 nor 2020.


Some of the main Irish media outlets have been fooled 3 times in 2015 on this issue: January 2015; April 2015 and December 2015, and today they report that the target has been pushed back to 2020 — however, on the basis of two alternative outcomes in 2020, the target will not be met either in that year.

1) The Government has not explained why a 6% narrow or official rate of unemployment would be full-employment. This narrow rate is based on an International Labour Organisation (ILO) definition of an individual in the workforce doing paid work of at least 1 hour in a week.

In October 2015, the official rate in Germany was 4.5%, 4.7% in Czech Republic; 5.1% in Malta; 5.2% in the UK. The EU28 rate was 9.3% and the Euro Area rate was 10.7%.

In Ireland in November, the narrow rate was at 8.9% and the broad rate was at 19% — the latter mainly includes in addition to the official rate, an accounting for 80,000 people in public activation schemes; 100,000 part-time workers looking for full-time work, and others claiming employment benefits while on for example sick leave. The US broad rate in November was 9.9% and the narrow rate was 5%.

2) Finfacts reported in April that three months after the Coalition announced that a full-employment target had been brought forward to 2018 from 2020, the 'Stability Programme April 2015 Update' report that was prepared by the Department of Finance for the European Commission, showed that neither a full-employment target would be achieved in 2018 or 2020.

So even if a 6% unemployment rate in 2020 was accepted as full unemployment, the Department of Finance forecast in April 2015 a rate of 6.7% in 2020 and revised the 2020 rate to 6.4% in Budget 2016 announced last October (see chart below).

Fiddled data in January 2015

Enda Kenny, taoiseach, announced on 14 Jan, 2015 after a so-called "Jobs Cabinet" that the target date for full-employment would be brought forward by two years to 2018.

Our goal is that all of the 250,000 jobs that were lost during the recession will be able to be restored and that’s why, at the suggestion of both myself and the tánaiste, Cabinet agreed to bring forward plans from 2020 to be implemented by 2018 to achieve full employment.

The problem with the statement was that the statistic that 250,000 jobs had been lost during the recession was bogus. The correct total was 305,000.

In March 2014 in Washington DC, Kenny had used a total of 330,000 job losses.

The Press Office of the Department of the Taoiseach explained in a statement to Finfacts on 21 Jan, 2015, how 55,000 jobs were lost to massage the data to enable the new full-employment target of 2018:

The figures are related to different data sets and different time frames.
The 250,000 is a rounded figure from live register and earnings survey data and is specifically from March 2008 to March 2011.
The Quarterly National Household Survey, which is published later than the live register data, shows the drop in employment exceeding 300,000 from Q1 2008 and Q1 2011.

The Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) is the Central Statistics Office's (CS0) quarterly official report on employment not the Live Register or earnings survey reports.

The economists in the Department of the Taoiseach knew that and besides Kenny, Michael Noonan, finance minister, and Richard Bruton, jobs minister, must have known that the basis of the new 2018 full-employment target was bogus.

We have more detail here in our original report on the fiddle:

Finfacts Jan 2015: Ireland: Government explains how it understates recession job losses  

Kenny, full-employment, election, 2020

Irish media's stale news

While the 2018 target was bogus from the start and the 2020 target exceeded 6% in official forecasts from April 2015, in mid-December Brian Hayes MEP, Fine Gael director of elections, said the Government was committed to the 2018 target - if Hayes had read the chart above published last October, he would have seen that the 2018 employment forecast was 7.2%

Then just before Christmas, Kenny told political reporters that the target would be moved back to 2020 and it was published today to ensure it would be ignored.

Harry McGee in the Irish Times in a report and strapline, Kenny moves back full employment deadline to 2020 - Original 2018 target to cut jobless rate to 6 per cent ‘unrealistic’, says Taoiseach, reports today:

The Government is to hold a jobs summit in early January with the aim of reaching full employment in the Irish economy by the end of the decade. However, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has admitted that the date for reaching that target has slipped by two years from previous Government promises.
Last January the Government announced that it would attain a 6% unemployment rate — technically full employment — by 2018 .
But in an interview with journalists over the Christmas period, he revised that timetable and said the Government’s aim was to achieve it by 2020. Asked why the timetable had slipped back by two years, he replied: “I think it’s more realistic. Obviously 6% is full employment by 2020.
“It’s important that we set out that stall, the difficulties and the challenges that we faced this year were a continuation of the difficulties we faced for the last number of years. But now it’s moving on very strongly.”

Kevin Doyle in an Irish Independent report, Taoiseach backtracks on plan for full employment - ‘2020 is now a more realistic target’, writes:

Fine Gael believes its joint plan with the Labour Party to replace every job lost during the economic downturn within the next three years was too ambitious. In an embarrassing U-turn, Mr Kenny now says that a "more realistic" target for bringing the unemployment rate close to 6% is 2020.
Just days before Christmas, Fine Gael's director of elections, Brian Hayes, publicly indicated the party was still committed to 2018. But Mr Kenny said it is "more difficult" to get the unemployment rate down from 10% to 6% than it has been to get from 15% to 10%.

Newstalk106 and other outlets also carried the stale news and were in effect fooled by the Government.  

Irish media sustains distorting politics of jobs spin

Irish dole claims end 2015 at 410,000, Broad jobless rate at 19%