Youth unemployment and changes to Jobseeker's Allowance

Posted on September 17, 2014 by Daragh McCarthy

Currently, there are 24 unemployed people for every job vacancy. This is a problem for everyone looking for work, but makes it particularly difficult for young people who tend to have less work experience.

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Posted in: Jobs

Researching the macro-economic impact of the Living Wage

Posted on September 12, 2014 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI

The idea of a ‘living wage’ is gathering momentum in many parts of the world. It is conceived and measured as a wage rate which is adequate to meet the needs of workers and their families in a given society at a given time. But affordability of life for workers is one thing – what about affordability for companies and employers? Would the application of a ‘living wage’ across the economy lead to businesses closing or jobs being lost or young people failing to find employment?  The answer depends on what level of increase is required to reach a ‘living wage’ (and how the latter is measured) as well as how different impacts play out in the economy with gains and losses added up. 

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Posted in: Living wageNorthern Ireland Wages

The Earnings Distribution: the bottom, the middle, the top and the very top

Posted on September 09, 2014 by Micheál Collins

There has been lots of talk in recent months about ‘middle-earners’ – almost all of it without any basis in the various numbers available on the income and earnings distribution. Indicator 4.5a in the latest edition of the NERI’s Quarterly Economic Facts (p75-76) provides a basis for a more informed understanding.

The indicator uses the latest earnings data from the Revenue Commissioners’ Statistical Report to profile the distribution of earnings. Dealing only with taxable income the data details the distribution of tax cases (individuals or couples who are jointly assessed) by total gross income for the 2011 tax year – the latest available.

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Posted in: IncomeInequalityWages

Wage repression – the new orthodoxy

Posted on September 05, 2014 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI

 Wages have been falling since 2009 in the Republic of Ireland. This deterioration has been accompanied by (i) an erosion in purchasing power as the prices of most goods and services rise and (ii) less money in people’s pockets as taxes and public charges have risen and many social payments have been cut (or have not kept pace with inflation). The surprising story – perhaps – is that the fall in wages has continued into 2014 even though employment and output have been picking up since at least 2013.

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Posted in: Wages

Latest Data on the Vacancy Rate

Posted on September 02, 2014 by Daragh McCarthy

Vacancy Rate Fact of the Week

The ratio of unemployed people to job vacancies is a measure of the extent of labour market tightness—the higher the ratio, the less opportunity unemployed individuals have to find employment. The current rate in Ireland is 24 people for every job vacancy available. This suggests the economy is still struggling to provide a sufficient number of jobs; however, the rate is a notable improvement on the second half of 2013 when there were 28.5 people available for work for each vacancy.


International comparison of the vacancy rate


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Posted in: Jobs

Taxing Questions, Taxing Answers

Posted on September 02, 2014 by Micheál Collins

Following the publication of the recent NERI working paper on total household tax contributions, there have been a number of issues raised by commentators and others on the paper, its data and its conclusions. Of course, given the topic, that comes as no surprise. Taxation is always a contentious issue and sadly one which, though discussed and speculated upon in great detail, is not often on the receiving end of detailed empirical research. The very fact that last week’s paper was the first to look at overall tax contributions since 1995 (a CSO report on 1987 data) underscores the gaps in our knowledge of the taxation system.

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Posted in: IncomeTaxation

Youth labour market still in recession

Posted on August 30, 2014 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI

The week gone by brought some mixed news in regards to wages and employment trends in the Republic of Ireland.  The recovery in total estimated employment from about the end of 2012 has continued into 2014 but at a much reduced pace. At the same time, wages are dropping slightly on average (before account is taken of taxes and social transfers). And the estimated numbers emigrating are significantly down. The bottom line is that there are more people at work, wages are stagnating if not declining while fewer people are leaving to look for work abroad. These are the key points. In next week’s blog I will look at some recent wage trends while, this week, the focus is on the some aspects of employment trends that have received relatively little public attention so far.

Employment is up but only just ….

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Posted in: Jobs

How much tax do people really pay

Posted on August 28, 2014 by Micheál Collins

Micheal Collins profile

How much Tax do people really pay?

Too often considerations of the taxation system are focused on income taxes, or income related taxes like social insurance; a narrow perspective given the composition of taxation revenue received by the exchequer. Indeed, the oft-cited phrase ‘taxpayers’ is generally taken to mean income taxpayers rather than its more appropriate meaning of all those paying taxes – whether from income, expenditure or other contributions.

 A new research paper by Dr Micheál Collins of the NERI examines how much tax people ‘really’ pay. It uses data from the most recent Household Budget Survey to bring together information on the total amount of direct (income tax and social insurance payments) and indirect (VAT, excise and levies) tax paid by people in the Republic of Ireland.

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Posted in: InequalityTaxation

Ireland’s Low Pay Problem: time for a Living Wage

Posted on August 25, 2014 by Micheál Collins

Ireland joined a growing international living wage movement in July when the Living Wage Technical Group launched the 2014 Living Wage. In principle, a living wage is intended to establish an hourly wage rate that should provide employees with sufficient income to achieve an agreed acceptable minimum standard of living. In that sense it is an income floor; representing a figure that allows employees working full-time to afford the essentials of life. The figure for 2014 is €11.45 per hour, equivalent to €446 per week.

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Posted in: IncomeInequalityJobsLabour costsLiving wageWages

Wages stagnation in Northern Ireland a brake on recovery

Posted on August 22, 2014 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI

The speed of economic recovery in the UK has taken many by surprise. First the good news. Employment is up. Retail sales are up and business investment is expanding. This is good news for exporters in the Republic of Ireland especially those in sectors such as agri-food where, traditionally, the UK market has been an important destination. It is also good news for Northern Ireland where, even if timely data are lacking, it appears that output and employment are on the rise. See Section 2.3 of the latest NERI Quarterly Economic Observer . It also appears that many households are drawing on savings to spend a bit more in shops and local economies.

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Posted in: Northern Ireland Wages

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