Exporters warn that job growth still a long way off
EXPORTS are beginning to recover but job increases are still a long way away, according to the head of a leading trade association.
The Irish Exporters Association (IEA) said there has been substantial growth in services sector exports in the past six months and there were signs of recovery in the agri-food and drinks business.
Despite these positive indicators, however, job growth may not return until next year.
Merchandise exports in the second quarter of the year were up 5pc, or just over €1bn, compared to the first three months of the year. That is the first quarterly growth in exports since the start of 2009 but is still less than the same period last year.
The agri-food sector returned to growth in the first half on the back of high commodity prices, but exports are still about 10pc less than the same period in 2008, while the beverages sector increased by 13pc between January and June 2010.
IEA chief executive John Whelan was optimistic about future growth but warned that Ireland still had to get past several obstacles before job growth could return.
"Irish merchandise exporters have been losing market share and it becomes clear that as a country we must continue to maintain our focus on restoring cost competitiveness," he said.