Employment has increased significantly, in the Republic of Ireland, since 2012. This is very welcome. While the details and scale of the increase has been open to statistical interpretation it is clear that a recovery in output in most sectors of the economy has spilled over into job creation (See Chart 1 below). Unemployment, as estimated on the basis of the ‘standardised unemployment rate’ is now just under 10% of the workforce – a significant psychological threshold last breached in mid-1997 during the last Irish bust/boom of the 1980’s/early 1990s.
The third annual NERI labour market conference was held on 1 May in Riddel Hall, Queen's University Belfast. The event was held in conjunction with the Queen's Management School and featured presentations on a wide range of areas. Details on the topics covered, including links to the slides, are available below. All at the NERI would like to thank everyone who attended the conference, particularly those who gave a presentation. The conference will be held south of the border next year and we will keep you up to date with the arrangements.
Slides from a number of presentations are exluded at the presenters' request.
The current focus on low pay and precarious work practices has set the scene for the work of the recently formed Low Pay Commission in the Republic of Ireland. One aspect of their work will be to look at the number of individuals trapped in low pay, many of whom are dependent on the social protection system to underpin their ability to make ends meet.
Ireland set up a Low Pay Commission earlier this year with a mandate to (amongst other things) recommend to government on an annual basis on appropriate changes to the rate set for the National Minimum Wage (NMW).
‘These things we hold to be self-evident …. ‘ is a line taken from the 1776 USA Declaration of Independence. Given the emerging debate - such as it is – in the Republic of Ireland on matters to do with taxation, social spending and related areas it would seem that the following ten canonical statements are universally believed in, rarely contested and frequently asserted:
Yesterday's seminar given by the Director of the NERI, Tom Healy, focused on setting the parameters for a clear, long-term vision for the Irish economy to emerge. The seminar is based on a recent working paper that argues this vision must be based on concrete goals that can be observed, measured and contrasted—as opposed to pious aspirations. The paper is not intended as a blueprint or model that is to be rolled out, but as a contribution to a debate on our economic future.
Over the course of the presentation, Dr Healy reviewed the key economic and social challenges facing the island of Ireland in the coming three decades and suggests an overarching framework to better understand:
Cover image for Quarterly Economic Facts Summer 2015
As shown in the latest edition of the Quarterly Economic Facts , the public sector in the Republic of Ireland accounts for 18.4 per cent of total employment—not far from the average level across OECD countries. The public sector employees make up 20 per cent of the total number of people working in the Untied Kingdom; however, public sector workers in Northern Ireland represent 31 per cent of total employment (ONS, 2014).
The construction sector in Northern Ireland saw the largest fall in employment across the economy. Even now, over six years since the property crash there are still 30% fewer jobs in the sector than there were in 2008. Many of the jobs in the construction sector would have been mid-level skilled positions that commanded decent wages and formed the backbone of employment in many communities.