Unemployment is once again at its lowest in five years, as we can continue to bang on every door and leave no stone unturned in the hunt to create jobs, turn the tide of emigration and reduce unemployment.

The unemployment rate in April fell to 11.7% from 11.8% in March. This is a decrease of 29,034 or 7% on the same time last year. That’s a huge decrease, and can’t be explained simply by “emigration”. The fact of the matter is that jobs are being created: 60,000 more jobs in the past year alone.

This is a huge priority for me, and I’m glad to see some of the strategies are working. Locally, I have hosted over a dozen jobs clinics to help local people find unemployment. The Youth Guarantee is also playing its part here, and I’ve met several people who are finding it a useful process, and it’s giving young people locally a bit of hope for the future.

Today, Merrion economist Alan McQuaid said that while emigration has been a contributory factor in bringing down the numbers on the Live Register over the past two years or so, there is clear evidence that there is more to it than just that. He said that employment conditions in the majority of sectors in the economy have generally improved in the past few months. He’s right.

One final thing is that the number of long-term claimants fell by 4.2% to 178,225. We’re making serious inroads in this respect, and I hope the economic recovery continues – I’ll be doing my level best to make sure that we have as many jobs created locally as possible.