Friday 22 September 2017

Unprotected labour market is Ireland's flexible friend

Brendan Keenan

Brendan Keenan

We had a visitor from a Beijing think tank the other week. She wanted to know the reasons behind the rapid Irish recovery from such a horrendous crash. If only she'd come last week!

Everyone is interested. The German think tanks must be very relieved. It looks like the medicine can work. At home, some must be discomfited. Failed predictions about soft landings have been followed by failed predictions about permanent grounding of the economy. Whoever said economics is a branch of history was probably right.

Not that history is easy. Even austerity seems to have lost its past bite. Almost all EU countries, whether in bailouts or not, are returning to their pre-crash levels of output at much the same time. Spain and Portugal lag a bit, but not that much, and Ireland has now passed the previous peak.

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