Kathy Walsh - Employment and unemployment in an Irish rural context

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Presentation by Kathy Walsh, KW Research and Associates, Ireland.

9th Annual Meeting of the OECD LEED Forum on Partnerships and Local Governance (Dublin-Kilkenny, Ireland), 26/27 March 2013.

http://www.oecd.org/cfe/leed/9thfplgmeeting.htm

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Kathy Walsh - Employment and unemployment in an Irish rural context

  1. 1. 9th Annual Meeting IMPLEMENTING CHANGE: A NEW LOCAL AGENDA FOR JOBS AND GROWTH In co-operation with the EU Presidency, Irish Government and Pobal 26-27 March 2013, Dublin-Kilkenny, IrelandPLENARY SESSION II: LOCAL EMPLOYMENT STRATEGIES IN RURAL AREAS Kathy Walsh KW Research and Associates, Ireland
  2. 2. Employment and Unemployment in an Irish Rural Context Dr. Kathy Walsh OECD Conference Kilkenny, 27th March 2013
  3. 3. Study Purpose Examine nature and issues of employment, unemployment & social inclusion in rural areas (esp. since 2008). Make recommendations to address issues Study undertaken jointly with Brian Harvey. Focus of this presentation: Employment & Unemployment
  4. 4. Content Study purpose Methodology Findings Recommendations
  5. 5. Study Methodology Use of various definitions/approaches to defining ‘rural’ (including a new approach based on various settlement size (<3,000, 3,000- 5,000 & > 5,000) Analysis of the newly-available 2011 census data and other data Consultations with key stakeholders
  6. 6. Rural FindingsDefinitions and Policies
  7. 7. What is Rural?No single agreed definition (39%- 59% RoI)Most of us believe we know what it is......Population density, land use, settlements patterns,distance from urban centres
  8. 8. Rural Definitions? Irish Central Statistics Office aggregate rural areas as a ‘statistical concept where people reside outside clusters (with legally defined boundaries) of 1,500 or more inhabitants’ (38%) OECD: rural if the population is less than 150 persons/km2 and classifies regions as Predominantly Rural (PR), Intermediate (IR) and Predominantly Urban (PU). EU Survey of Income and Living Conditions has 8 sampling categories (from open countryside, towns under 1,000 to the greater Dublin Area).
  9. 9. Rural Definitions? > 1,500 too narrow a focus – need an enlarged lens. What was possible, ultimately developed based on settlement size (<3,000, 3,000- 5,000 & > 5,000)
  10. 10. Rural Findings (1) Definitions of rural currently very narrow Irish rural policy is out of date  Enhancing our future, 1999  Rural initiatives (Rural Social Scheme/Rural Transport Programme) – but not policies Need for a statement of basis for rural policy  E.g. Future of Rural Society (Commission, 1988)  Equivalence principle
  11. 11. Rural Findings (2)Absence of rural policy focus  Many national policies documents have no rural sections or only passing mention - Action Plan for Jobs, - National Skills Strategy, - Enterprise Strategy, - Ministerial briefings 2011Absence of rural proofing  ‘Rural’ has slipped down policy hierarchy
  12. 12. FindingsEmployment & Unemployment
  13. 13. Rural Employment PreviouslyMain sources of rural employment were:Agriculture, Natural Resources, Construction (boostedparticularly in the 2000’s), Small scale manufacturingand Public services.Economic Crises (2008-) Unemployment 4.7% -2007 to 14.6% -2012 Long-term unemployment 1.3% -2007 to 8.4% -2012 Substantial out-migration affecting Under-employment 22.7%, the third highest in the EU % young people not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET) the third highest in EU
  14. 14. Data - Rural Employment/Unemployment Hard to Locate• Live Register Bulletins (monthly) measure of standardised unemployment rate• Quarterly National Household Bulletin (by sector to NUTS III level but no rural/urban breakdown)• Regional Labour Market Bulletins (FÁS) Need to find ways to apply a rural lens – use CSO 2011 Small Area Census data on unemployment & labour force participation (with the support of National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA) at NUI Maynooth)
  15. 15. NUTS III Unemployment Figures (Census 2011) NUTS III Total Settlements Settlements Settlements level 5,000+ 3000-5,000 <3,000 Border 23% 26% 28% 21% Midland 22% 27% 29% 19% West 19% 20% 16% 18% Dublin 17% 17% 17% 15% Mid-East 18% 18% 18% 18% Mid-West 20% 25% 0% 17% South East 22% 25% 26% 19% South West 17% 19% 19% 15%• Rural unemployment lowest,• 3-5,000 settlements surprisingly high unemployment in some regions.• Caution: The issue of underemployment not considered in Census figures
  16. 16. Unemployment/Employment Supports Activation policies and programmes  Many and varied (Back-to-Work schemes, Back-to- education courses, short- term enterprise allowance scheme, Tús, the Rural Social Scheme, Community Employment, etc.).  Do not match scale of problem Have a number of general problems,(underinvestment, the prioritizing of control and lack of progression) Not adapted to rural situations. Some issues are more challenging
  17. 17. Employment Policies/Directions Convergence about what should be done  Between Ireland and Europe  Between NGOs and government Main activities identified as:  Investment in infrastructure, public services  Green jobs (agrifood, farmer markets, social farming, organic, etc), low carbon economy (biofuels, wind, wave)  Targeted assistance for SMEs, micro- enterprise, social enterprise  Up-skilling right through to upper age range  Rural, heritage, eco-tourism
  18. 18. Employment/Unemployment Trends Ireland lags behind Europe in key areas  E.g. organics, biomass, nature protection, renewables  Example inappropriately applied e.g. wind  Missed opportunities e.g. heritage tourism, wave, Groundwork type improvements Role of the state: over reliant on private sector to create work in rural areas. Overlooks potential for state to create work directly & provide more effective support for SME’s.
  19. 19. Employment Opportunities Need more effective development of - Social enterprise (0.68% v 6% EU) - Apprenticeship training, (only 1,400 places) Need to re-affirm role of community development  It was a major driver of employment in rural Ireland post 1980’s  Since then, investment fallen 42%, increasing concerns about its future because of proposed alignment process.
  20. 20. Rural PolicyRecommendations
  21. 21. Rural RecommendationsDefinitions of RuralNeed a broader definition of ‘rural’ that values theclose linkages between open countryside and smalltowns and villages that service these areas. Need tolook at particular employment needs of settlements of3000-5,000.Rural Policy Development of a new rural vision, setting down the rationale for investing in and redefining ‘rural’. Application of rural proofing, enforced by a Rural Policy Implementation Group Application of the European policy menu in those areas where Ireland lags
  22. 22. Recommendations Rural Employment & Unemployment
  23. 23. Employment/UnemploymentRecommendations: Better adaptation of activation to the rural, refocusing resources to intensive support and outreach, investment in childcare, transport & progression. Reinvestment in apprenticeships for the new jobs already identified as appropriate for rural areas. Investment in the social economy in the rural economy, with a strategy for its development and a national support unit. Re-affirm value of community development. Operation of European ‘Community Led Local Development Programme as a global grant (2014-2020).
  24. 24. Thank You for Listening

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