SIPTU has described Central Statistics Office figures released today (Thursday, 30th May) which show a rise in the number of those in work as ‘a step in the right direction’ but expressed concern over the part-time nature of many of the new jobs. SIPTU economist, Marie Sherlock, said: “On a seasonally adjusted basis, there were 7,700 more jobs in the economy in the January-March period than in the previous three months. In the year to the end of March, employment increased by 20,500 or 1.1%.“These figures and the overall unemployment figure of 13.7% are at least a step in the right direction but by no means indicate an end, or even the beginning of the end, to the jobs crisis.”She added: “There are a number of concerns evident from an initial inspection of the statistics. Firstly, it is unclear what impact emigration has played in the decreasing number of those unemployed. In relation to the growth in those working the bulk of employment is in part-time work, which is narrowly concentrated in a small number of sectors. Agriculture, forestry fishing and health were the main growth sectors in the first quarter of 2013.“It is also of concern that the driver of employment growth is in the professional grades in the services sector, particularly in health and education. This indicates that those in long term unemployment are unlikely to benefit from the growth in employment to the degree which is necessary.”