Sunday 30 April 2017

This recovery remains fragile and the State's finances are vulnerable

Ireland has been lucky, but that can change, so this is no time to spend, spend, spend

Men at work: Workers take a break from building the Dublin Port Tunnel in 2006. Construction, which was worst hit in the downturn, has recovered fastest and numbers are up 27pc since the trough Photo: Julien Behal/PA
Men at work: Workers take a break from building the Dublin Port Tunnel in 2006. Construction, which was worst hit in the downturn, has recovered fastest and numbers are up 27pc since the trough Photo: Julien Behal/PA
Colm McCarthy

Colm McCarthy

The economic recovery in Ireland continues to reduce unemployment at a rapid pace. Figures from the Central Statistics Office last week show that the overall unemployment rate has fallen below 8pc and has halved in just four years. The numbers are from the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS), a very large-scale data-gathering exercise and one of the best tools for monitoring economic trends.

Unemployment rates during the bubble were under 5pc for an extended period but soared to 15pc when the bubble began to burst late in 2007. The unemployment rate is not the whole story and the recent improvement reflects a drop in labour force participation and a resumption of emigration.

The participation rate (the portion of adults working or seeking work) fell back sharply for males but has now stabilised at a lower level.

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