Colm McCarthy: The recovery has not begun, all spin aside
Positive news abounds, but all we have to really go on are figures and the data doesn't lie
Economic recovery is essential if debt burdens are to be sustainable, if employment is to grow and if the decline in living standards is to be arrested. While recovery in 2013 is possible, there is no hard evidence that recovery is under way.
There is a real boom, though, in one sector of Irish manufacturing, namely the manufacture of good news stories to usher in the new year. Industrial promotion agencies have been releasing their year-end statements, detailing their job-creation achievements. Strong export performance has been lauded, by exporters. The heavily-indebted Government has sold some extra debt. Official forecasts see the beginning of recovery in 2013 and a successful exit from the EU/IMF programme by year's end. How much of this is credible, and how much is spin?
Nobody knows whether the Irish economy will begin to recover in 2013, no matter how confidently their forecasts are presented. There is no way of knowing. All that is known is the latest batch of proper statistics from the Central Statistics Office, and they show that no actual recovery has commenced. The main figures are as follows: