Real disposable income is down 10pc as living standards fall to 2002 levels
REAL disposable income dropped almost 10pc last year, new figures show.
Although not often used, this figure is generally regarded as the best indicator of living standards.
Previous data from the Central Statistics Office for 2009 showed a 15pc fall in the country's gross national disposable income (GNDI).
New estimates taking falling prices into account show the purchasing power of disposable income fell by less. But it was still down 9.7pc as soaring unemployment reduced total incomes. Wages paid dropped by €6bn to €67.4bn.
The figures put real disposable income per person at €31,078 per person. This represents a 17pc fall in living standards since the peak of €37,720 in 2007 and takes real disposable income back to 2002 levels.
Real disposable national income per person employed has dropped by 8.5pc since the 2006 peak of €78,194.
Previously published estimates show that agricultural incomes decreased by 24.4pc last year, while incomes outside agriculture dropped 8.6pc.
The reduction in incomes was reflected in a 7pc drop in personal consumption last year. There was an 8.4pc decline in the amount of alcohol bought and a 5.4pc fall in tobacco.
Other sectors fared even worse. The collapse in car sales contributed to an 18.4pc fall in the volume of sales of transport and communication equipment.
Household equipment was down 14pc, foreign travel fell 13pc in real terms and tourist spending in the country plummeted by 14pc.
Much of the havoc was caused by the collapse in construction. The amount of money spent on housebuilding more than halved, from €15bn in 2008, to €7.4bn last year.