Bank of Ireland revises up its 2016 growth predictions
Bank of Ireland has revised up its growth projection for the economy for 2016 to 5pc from 4.8pc. The bank's chief economist, Dr Loretta O'Sullivan, said the steady rise in employment will continue with growth of 2.5pc projected for this year.
Unemployment is expected to fall below 7pc by the end of 2017, she said, adding that "2016 is off to a strong start and we're revising our GDP forecast up to 5pc.
"There are positive signals of continued growth with the unemployment rate hitting a seven-year low in January and we foresee a continued rise in employment this year.
"The outlook for business is positive with an expected increase in activity and further investment. Ireland is continuing to perform well against European counterparts, demonstrating strong continued growth."
The bank has also revised up its forecast for personal consumption by 0.25pc to 3.4pc this year, with projected growth of 3pc in 2017.
Bank of Ireland also cited research it carried out which indicates that 60pc of small and medium-sized businesses see activity increasing over the next three months. "Exports are at a record high with growth in key trading partners and favourable sectoral conditions contributing to this," the bank said.