Blog Archive

The gate of the year

Posted on December 22, 2016

Tom Healy, Director NERI
The words of a famous poem are occasionally invoked at the beginning of a new year. 2017 seems as good a year as any to use them:  “I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year, ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’” This time last year there were three things, two of which we knew were possible, and one of which was not even considered as a possibility. The …

An Irish Wealth Tax

Posted on December 21, 2016 by Tom McDonnell

Scrooge McDuck
2017 promises to be a year of change with Brexit and Trumponomics gathering pace with diffcult to predict outcomes. One thing remaining constant is that the fiscal space available for Budget 2018 will remain tight and that discretion for current and capital spending increases and tax cuts will be limited. The fiscal council estimate that the carry-over cost of measures introduced in Budget 2017 …

Posted in: InequalityTaxation

Searching for the economic holy grail

Posted on December 16, 2016

Tom Healy, Director NERI
What’s wrong with GDP?  GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, is in the news every day.  Analysts, commentators, politicians, journalists and others parse GDP to the first decimal place and grant due reverence to this most solemn of indicators.  Then, in recent years the spurious accuracy shown by the forecasting industry took a serious battering.  You should be careful about what can happen over …

Improving wellbeing: But what is it and who’s responsible? Northern Ireland’s new approach to governance

Posted on December 16, 2016 by Lisa Wilson

In Northern Ireland’s new draft Programme for Government (2016-2021) ‘wellbeing’ is embedded as the central concept on which the Executive seeks to base its new approach to governance. On the first line of the introduction to the draft document it is said that the ‘Programme for Government is designed to help deliver improved wellbeing for all our citizens.’. Moreover, the overarching …

Posted in: Northern Ireland

A boring blog about a hot topic

Posted on December 11, 2016

Tom Healy, Director NERI
With the possible exceptions of GAA sports, soccer and rugby there is no topic more likely to cause intense passion and heat (but very little light) than that of public sector pay in the Republic of Ireland. What follows, in this Blog, is a most dull and dis-passionate consideration of the statistics concerning public sector pay.  Three questions arise: How much is spent on public sector pay …

QEO - The Implications of a Hard BREXIT for Northern Ireland

Posted on December 06, 2016 by Paul Mac Flynn

Brexit image
The Winter 2016 Quarterly Economic Observer was released this morning and it provides the NERI's analysis recent economic trends and the outlook for both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. We highlight the signs of decelerating growth in the Republic along with concerns about recent budgetary measures particularly in the housing sector. For Northern Ireland, the relative stability of …

Posted in: JobsNorthern Ireland

Some dirty secrets about income and earnings

Posted on December 02, 2016 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
The Irish labour market is full of interesting things. What you see and hear on a daily basis is roughly in the following order of coverage starting with the most talked about: Public sector pay issues and associated matters. Number One. Public-private sector pay differences (always the number one item of news and interest when wage statistics are updated). Remuneration and associated pension …

Measuring what matters: Alternative measures of progress for Northern Ireland

Posted on December 01, 2016 by Lisa Wilson

Measuring tape
What is the yardstick by which the progress of countries and societies ought to be measured and judged? This is the question which, for some years now, has acted as the lynchpin behind the many conversations taking place across the globe concerned with whether or not we are measuring what really matters for our people, our economies, our societies or our environment. While it might come across as …

Posted in: Northern Ireland

Private Sector Wages

Posted on November 29, 2016 by Tom McDonnell

Collective Bargaining
The Republic of Ireland's economy has been on a strengthening arc for the last four years with a narrowing output gap and GDP growth expected to exceed 4% in 2016. The unemployment rate fell to 7.3% in November which is is less than half of the great recession nadir of over 15%. Total employment is still down 125,000 compared to 2007 but has increased steadily since early 2012 with almost 200,000 …

Posted in: Labour costsWages

We need to talk about wages

Posted on November 25, 2016 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI
Did you know that wages – as measured by real average weekly earnings – have not increased since 2008 in the Republic of Ireland ?  Never mind the Great Leap forward in GDP last year or the rapid and very welcome growth in employment (continuing to run at an annualised rate of close to 3%).   A release of data on wages is not accompanied by a media one-day major focus such as happens in …

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