You know that we're really screwed when the numbers of women with grey roots vastly outnumbers those without. Vanity comes at a cost. If there's no money to spend on covering up grey hairs, then things are bad. Sales of hair dye on eBay.ie rose 17.4 per cent last month with 25,260 products for sale. This is positive. It'd be better if people were going to expensive hair salons than taking the DIY approach. But we're not out of the woods yet.
The number of people on the live register dropped by 1,400 on a seasonally adjusted basis. Only 429,000 people left to find jobs. At the current rate unemployment will be completely cleared by 2038. Thanks to some statistical mumbo jumbo, the unemployment rate now stands at a lower 14.1 per cent. Way too high. There's no recovery without jobs. No jobs with austerity measures. Even so, it's a slight improvement on the previous month. Even better was the data that showed employment in Ireland had grown for consecutive quarters for the first time since early 2008.
Property prices ROSE in Dublin in 2012! Not by much. But the 2.1 per cent rise was the first annual increase in prices since 2007. Nationally prices dropped by 3.3 per cent for the year. There was a big jump in the number of transactions, up to 8,986 in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with 5,719 between July and September. Green shoot alert!
Removal of the ELG
The amount of assets now being guaranteed by the State has dropped by €74bn. We couldn't have paid it out anyway, but it's one less potential problem for Ireland's debt mountain. While the Exchequer will miss the funds squeezed from the banks to pay for the scheme, it's expiry will mean that we'll look that bit more credit-worthy on the bond markets. Now all we have to worry about is the Italians lobbing a few spanners into the works.
Hah! Germany... we laugh at your puny efforts. Our GDP growth was the same as yours. Ireland's economy grew by 0.2 per cent between July and September last year, with increases in personal expenditure and capital spending. The Germans who have been slapping us around for being lazy, work-shy slackers only grew GDP by the same weedy 0.2 per cent. Finland, another country more than happy to look down its nose at our profligate ways saw its economy shrink by 0.1 per cent and is now in recession. The Dutch had the biggest Q3 fall. While our moral supremacy is restored, our key trading partners will want less of our stuff.
During the course of 2011, total labour costs (including salary, redundancy, payments, pension contributions and benefits in kind) decreased by 1.1 per cent. In the week of the negotiations of Croke Park II, there are more cuts in effective pay on the way for public sector workers. While this does put the country on a more sustainable footing, it will have a large downward impact on the consumption levels and demand for goods and services in the domestic economy.
The number of companies going wallop has fallen by 32 per cent over the last year, according to research conducted by vision-net.ie. There was a 7 per cent increase in the number of new companies being set up. The slowdown in company failures indicates a definite stabilisation in the economy and even the prospect of a bit of growth. A spot of corporate EPO would do the trick.