NEWS RELEASE:NO EMPLOYMENT RECOVERY IN THE RETAIL SECTOR - URGENT GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION NEEDED TO KICKSTART RETAIL JOBS MARKET
DESPITE 33,500 NEW JOBS IN THE ECONOMY OVER 12 MONTHS, EMPLOYMENT IN RETAIL SECTOR FELL BY 2,000
RGDATA has called for urgent Government intervention to help kick start employment creation in the retail sector. The organisation made its call following the publication of the National Household Survey which showed that the number of people employed in the Retail and Wholesale Sector actually fell by 2,000 in the last year. This was despite a general improvement in employment numbers over the same period with 33,500 new jobs being created across the economy.
The crisis in retail employment highlights how fragile and tentative the recovery in the sector remains. The trend in employment in the retail and wholesale sector is at variance with many other sectors of the economy which suffered badly under the recession. While retail employment fell by 2,000 on an annual basis, the construction sector saw an increase of 3,600 new jobs, and accommodation and food saw a massive 8,100 new jobs being created over the same period last year.
Even in the current year, the level of job creation in the retail and wholesale sector remains depressed and lagging behind other sectors.
In May 2014 the National Household Survey showed that the number of people employed in the retail/wholesale sectors fell by 2,200 in the first quarter against a general trend of increasing employment across other areas of the economy.
The latest NHS published last week showed that while there is an increase in employment generally (+3.6%), in the retail sector, the increase(.5%) is much more modest than other sectors which were hammered during the recession.
For example between Q1 and Q2 2014 in retail/wholesale the increase was .5% increase in employment, as against a 6.7% increase in construction of buildings, 7.9% in the motor trade (wholesale, retail and repair) and 14.8% in accommodation. Many of these sectors are benefiting from Government growth incentives and initiatives.
• On an annual basis the figures are staggering – in the year to the second quarter there was an increase in full time employment of 33,500 people. However part time employment declined by 1,900. For the same period;
o Construction increased by 3,600 people (Home renovation scheme)
o Accommodation and food increased by 8,100 (9% VAT rate)
o Retail and Wholesale actually fell by 2,000 people. (abolition of 4.25% PRSI)
Tara Buckley, Director General of RGDATA said that the low level of job creation in the retail and wholesale sectors at a time of general employment growth highlights the need for Government initiatives and incentives to increase jobs in this sector. Buckley claimed that many of the sectors that have seen employment growth are benefitting from Government initiatives and similar schemes should be extended to the retail sector. She also said that the Government decision to scrap the 4.25% reduced employers PRSI rate was a mistake and one which has directly impacted negatively on employment creation in the sector. She said that the loss of 1,900 part time jobs over the last year is directly attributable to the abolition of the reduced PRSI rates.
Tara Buckley commented;
" If the Government is serious about tackling the jobs crisis there needs to be some urgent measures introduced to increase employment in the retail sector. The reduced PRSI rate was effective in creating new jobs in the sector and its abolition in December 2013 has negatively impacted on new jobs growth in the sector. Sectors that have seen some Government measures such as Construction (home renovation scheme), Accommodation and Food (9% Vat rate) and the motor trade (new split registrations) have seen employment growth. New innovative measures are required for the retail sector if jobs from this important part of the economy are to be supported and sustained."
Tara Buckley also called on the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & innovation to exercise extreme vigilance in ensuring that his Department does not sponsor any new initiatives that add to employers' costs in the retail sector at this difficult time. She said;
" Any Proposals for pay increases and new wage fixing mechanisms in the retail grocery labour market are unhelpful and do nothing to help regenerate a sector of the economy which is on its knees. We need practical employment creating measures instead."
For further information please contact:
Communications & Public Affairs Manager
The Retail Grocery Dairy & Allied Trades Association - RGDATA - is the representative association for over 4,000 independent family owned grocery shops, convenience stores, forecourt stores and supermarkets in Ireland.
RGDATA is the longest established retail trade association representing the independent grocery sector for over 70 years.