Figures could be better if wage promises from politicians, based on unrepresentative figures, ceased.
Competitiveness reports must highlight SME cost figures
ISME, Thursday 21st May 2015.
Reacting to today’s Quarterly National Household Survey (21st May) results, ISME, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association, welcomed the increase in job creation butexpressed concern at the continued rise in costs for SMEs who are trying to create jobs. The Association called for a renewed focus on cost reduction and warned that with 9.9% of the workforce still seeking jobs and SMEs still struggling out of recession, now is not the time for stupid wage promises.
The Quarterly National Household Survey, the official recording of the labour force, shows that 41,300 jobs were created in the last twelve months, an increase on the 29,100 created in the year to December 2014. There are still 212,800 people unemployed although the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate reduced to 9.9% and 59.8% of these are long-term claimants.
According to ISME Chief Executive, Mark Fielding, “We are concerned by the numbers of people who are still unemployed. The most recent ISME Quarterly Trends Survey for Q1 2015 actually showed decreases in 11 of 12 indicators, which suggests that SMEs are not experiencing as strong a recovery as reported in national indicators. With SME business confidence, profitability and sales expectations all down, owner-managers are reticent to take the risk of adding to their workforce, especially with the pre-election promises of ‘wage increases for everyone’.”
“Competitiveness is the foundation on which SMEs create jobs. Current reports from the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) give national macro figures that conceal the real SME costs, which are lost in the aggregate. There must be a focused in depth review of SME costs by the NCC so that we have a proper measure of SME competitiveness and can begin to tackle increasing costs.”
The Association demanded that Government address the concerns of smaller businesses, the main job creators by;
Focussing on cost competitiveness, with a concerted effort to tackle SME business costs.
Tackling the Social Welfare Trap and the surge in the black economy.
Ensuring flexibility in the labour market through reasonable regulations.
Carrying out the promised reform of the public sector including a pay freeze until 2017.
Continue to monitor the availability of bank credit in the economy.
“SMEs are the main source of employment in the country so it is vital that Government be properly informed of the extortionate business costs with which they are forced to contend. In these days of e-commerce and globalisation it is imperative that indigenous Irish businesses can compete with their foreign counterparts on cost and with imperfect measurement this adds to the difficulties”concluded Fielding.