Ireland has a very high level of households where no-one is working or has very limited access to work. Almost one quarter of households in Ireland can be described as jobless compared to a European Union (EU) average of 11%.
The National Economic and Social Council, a public agency that has participation of the social partners and reports to the taoiseach, says in a report [pdf] published today that a distinguishing feature of Ireland’s jobless households is the likelihood that they contain children, with children making up nearly a third of those in jobless households. These households have a high risk of poverty, with the danger of transmitting joblessness and poverty across generations.
The risk of being in a jobless household is related to the employability of those in the household and the household’s structure. Those who live in jobless households are more likely to have no educational qualifications, to have never worked or to be in the unskilled social class. They are also more likely to be renting their accommodation, to be single or parenting alone, and to either have a disability or to live with someone with a disability.
"The reasons for household joblessness are complex but are related to three main factors," said Helen Johnston, the report’s author. "The first factor is the interaction between the tax and social welfare system and the transition from welfare to work. The second factor is related to the availability of jobs and whether the skills of those in jobless households match the requirements of the job. The third, and often overlooked, factor is the specific characteristics of the jobless household, such as the age, level of education and skills, and the health of the adults in the household, as well as the age and number of children."
In 2012 the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) published research showing that in 2007, before the recession began, Ireland also had the highest proportion of jobless households in the zone.
The ESRI research found that the percentage of people in jobless households increased from 15% in 2007 to 22% in 2010 - the NESC report today is in effect analysing ESRI research
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