Saturday 27 December 2014

OECD says young Irish are among main victims of the crisis

Published 06/11/2013 | 02:00

THE share of young people without a job and not in training jumped seven percentage points in Ireland between 2007 and 2010 – the highest increase in the OECD.

A new report by the global economic think-tank found the share increased by 1 percentage point on average in the area covered by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

But Ireland suffered the biggest hike, followed by Spain which increased 6 percentage points, according to an OECD study measuring the human cost of the crisis. It found that ordinary people's satisfaction with life has plunged in the eurozone countries worst hit by the financial crisis as faith in their governments' ability to ease the strain has diminished.

The Paris-based think-tank said the impact of the five-year-old crisis went deeper than lost jobs and income as reflected in traditional economic data.

It found life satisfaction scores dropped by more than 20pc in Greece over the five years to 2012, while Spain saw a fall of 12pc and Italy a drop of 10pc.

Ireland is ranked 15th out of 36 countries surveyed, above the OECD average.

The report, which covers the 34 OECD countries, as well as Brazil and Russia, is part of an OECD drive to go beyond traditional economic measures such as gross domestic product by looking at indicators on things such as education, work-life balance and civic engagement.

"This report is a wake-up call to us all," said OECD secretary-general Angel Gurria

"It is a reminder that the central purpose of economic policies is to improve people's lives. We need to rethink how to place people's needs at the heart of policy-making."

The report also stated that between 2007 and 2012, house prices declined by more than 15pc in the OECD area, with the largest falls occurring in Ireland, Spain and the United States.

Overall, since the start of the crisis, the largest declines in real household disposable income in Europe have occurred in Greece (by more than 10pc in both 2010 and 2011), Ireland (by nearly 3pc in 2010 and by more than 4pc in 2011), Hungary (by 4pc in 2009 and by 3pc in 2010), Italy (by 3pc in 2009 and by around 1pc in both 2010 and 2011), Portugal (by 5pc in 2011) and Spain (by more than 4pc in 2010 and by 3pc in 2011).

Households in Greece, Ireland and Poland were, unsurprisingly, among the more severely affected by the crisis, with their net financial wealth declining by more than 30pc in 2008.

Overall, households living in the euro area experienced smaller financial losses in 2008-10 but in 2011 their net financial wealth was still significantly lower than in the pre-crisis period.

Japan and Luxembourg were the only two OECD countries that did not record a decline in households' net financial wealth in the wake of the crisis.

Across OECD countries, around 90pc of people report having someone to count on in time of need

Social support networks appeared to be weakest in Turkey, Mexico, Korea and Greece, and strongest in Iceland, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States scored highest in terms of a general sense of well-being including life satisfaction. Chile, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Mexico, Portugal and Turkey had the lowest scores.

Irish Independent

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