Thursday 8 December 2016

Jobs bounce shows Ireland Inc is getting back to work

Latest employment figures are further proof of our recovery, but there could be clouds on the horizon, writes Dan O'Brien

Published 22/11/2015 | 02:30

One factor strengthening the economy is the halving of oil prices in
the past year
One factor strengthening the economy is the halving of oil prices in the past year

Last week brought more genuinely good news on the economy. The best measure of activity - the numbers at work - continues to move strongly in the right direction. In the July-September months, the national payroll expanded by 11,000 compared with April-June. The new jobs were all full-time jobs. Six of the country's eight regions contributed to the increase in employment over the second and third quarters. Young and old benefited.

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As Ireland enjoys some of the strongest rates of jobs growth anywhere in the developed world, the ranks of the unemployed continue to be whittled down. The State's statisticians last week estimated that the share of the labour force out of work fell below 9pc in October, the first time that has happened since the economy was haemorrhaging jobs in 2009. All told, there was a great deal that was positive in last Tuesday's jobs report and very little that was negative (for those interested, I analyse the numbers in greater depth in an accompanying column in today's business section).

The labour market indicators are being corroborated on an almost weekly basis by the many other indicators from across the economy. Although weaknesses of various kinds remain, among them lingering legacy issues from the crash, the pace and breadth of the recovery is not too far short of miraculous, particularly in the context of such weak growth in almost all of the advanced economies.

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