Irish redundancies in 2008 are up 36% on 2007 with 23,545 official redundancies in the first eight months, according to new figures issued by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
There were 3,181 redundancies in August under the State redundancy scheme, with the construction, manufacturing and services sectors all badly hit.
In the year to August, there have been 7,148 redundancies in the services industry and 6,513 redundancies in building and civil engineering. In the metal manufacturing, engineering and other manufacturing sectors, there have been some 6,588 redundancies. More than two-thirds of the people made redundant were male.
The Director of the Small Firms Association, Patricia Callan,said that the number of redundancies in the economy "is spiralling out of control". “These figures should serve as a wake-up call that good quality jobs are going to the wall in all sectors of the economy and across all regions, due to the cost pressures that small businesses find themselves under. As an economy and as a society we now have a clear choice – do we want to continue fooling ourselves that we can pay ourselves whatever we want and that the world will pay our price, or do we realise that we are a very small open economy, which has prospered due to the ability of our small businesses to be agile, innovative and competitive”.
Callan further commented: “small business owner-managers are now faced daily with the difficult decision of telling someone they have lost their job, in order to cut costs and give the business the best chance possible of surviving the economic downturn, and keeping the remaining jobs secure. It is time the government and the unions realise that our best chance of surviving this economic downturn, is to moderate our expectations, reduce cost pressures on small businesses in all areas and trade our way out of this downturn”.
“Small businesses are already operating under severe global competitive pressures, with higher oil prices, a very difficult exchange rate and the international credit crunch causing liquidity issues for the domestic banking sector, on which small businesses depend for cashflow and developmental needs”, commented Callan. “They are also faced with higher domestic costs in wages, electricity, gas, local authority, waste, water and environmental charges, which continue to undermine the overall competitive position.”
28% of jobs have been lost respectively in the Manufacturing sector (at 6,588), and Building & Civil Engineering (at 6,513).
A regional comparison shows that more than 37% of all jobs lost were in Dublin, followed by Cork, Galway, and Limerick with job losses of 2147, 1430 & 1140 respectively. “These figures clearly demonstrate that job losses are becoming much more regionally spread (43% of all jobs lost in 2007 were in Dublin). This poses particular challenges as the loss of such a significant number of jobs in regional areas will be more difficult to replace than in the capital”, commented Callan, who called on the state agencies concerned, “to do all in their power to promote the creation of enterprise, and therefore employment, in a regionally-balanced way.”