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Economy boost as job hopes rise

THE Irish economy is showing a tentative turnaround, with job creation expected to offset job losses in the coming months.

Business activity strengthened in the final months of this year and employment growth now seems to have turned positive.

The activity balance is at its strongest level since the winter of 2007, according to the Winter 2012 KBC Bank Ireland/Chartered Accountants Ireland Business Sentiment Survey.

Growth is expected to continue in early 2013 and healthier business levels have prompted increased hiring of late. However, firms remain cautious about the broader economic outlook

Austin Slattery, president of Chartered Accountants Ireland, said the improvement in business activity levels seen in the final months of 2012 is encouraging in several respects.

"The balance between those companies reporting increased business and those reporting weaker conditions in the past three months remains positive," he said. "Indeed, this balance is now at its strongest level in five years."