Is a pint after work on a Friday night too much to hope for?
After eight years of strain, stress and sacrifice, the squeezed middle deserves a break, writes Carol Hunt
Yes, I was surprised too. Last week, the ESRI came out with a report that said the so-called squeezed middle, or coping classes, weren't as hard done by as they'd thought during the recession. Really? It doesn't feel like that. But, as they say, the numbers don't lie.
And last week's report, grandly called 'Crisis, Austerity, Recovery: Income Distribution through the Great Recession in Ireland' tells us that it was, in fact, those on the lowest incomes who suffered the largest contraction in income as a result of the recession - the rapid increase in unemployment being a major factor.
Well, yes, losing your job does tend to have that effect, doesn't it? I've seen it happen to many around me and it's terrifying; no more take-out coffees, pints on a Friday night or plans for a summer holiday. Just dread and worry and tension and the hope that this week's batch of CVs or interviews will result in a decent job. A proper job, a job that will pay the mortgage or the rent, put food on the table, pay the bills and leave a bit left over to actually live on, rather than just survive.