Posts in the "Wages" category

Work, Welfare, Taxes and Unemployment Traps

Posted on February 03, 2015 by Micheál Collins

QEF indicator 5.6

As the economic recovery takes root, there are welcome improvements in the levels of employment and continued decreases in unemployment. Looking across 2015, the latest NERI projections (December 2014) suggest employment growth of 2.1% this year with unemployment falling to 10.4%.

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Permanent link | Categories: GenderIncomeJobsLabour costsLiving wageTaxationWages

Riches and Poverty

Posted on February 01, 2015 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI - Tom Healy, Director NERI
Tom Healy, Director NERI

Two statistical releases from the Central Statistics Office in recent weeks did not attract as much public attention as deserved. One report concerns trends and distribution of income (EU Survey of Income and Living Conditions) while the other concerns the level and distribution of wealth in Ireland. The latter was released under the title of the ‘Household Finance and Consumption Survey’ and was part of a European wide survey sponsored by the European Central Bank. The EUSILC survey showed an alarming increase in poverty (‘material deprivation’ is the measure used) including deprivation among children, older people and single parents. The other survey showed – for the first time – a robust statistical survey of wealth in the Republic of Ireland and how it is distributed across different households.

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Permanent link | Categories: InequalityWages

Low Pay in Northern Ireland in 2014

Posted on January 28, 2015 by Paul Mac Flynn

In March of last year the NERI's Spring Quarterly Economic Observer analysed earnings and low pay across Northern Ireland. We highlighted the gender, age and geographical breakdown of low pay and the implications of these statistics for policymakers. In December of last year the latest figures from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings were released and they painted a bleak picture for pay in Northern Ireland across the board. In that Spring QEO we examined three measures of 'low pay' and the first of these was the minimum wage. The minimum wage is, quite obviously, the minimum legal hourly rate of pay for workers in the UK (with lower rates for younger workers). The Minimum Wage however, is not a subsistence rate for employees but a rate that is designed to cause minimum disruption to the behaviour of employers i.e. one that would not cause undue unemployment. The minimum wage is and was always meant to be a wage floor, an absolute minimum not a starting salary, but as the chart below shows, in 2014 in Northern Ireland 10% of workers earned just the minimum wage and increase of 1% from last year.

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Permanent link | Categories: Living wageNorthern Ireland Wages

NERI Seminar: Outsourcing in the Public Sector

Posted on January 15, 2015 by Daragh McCarthy

Publication cover - Outsourcing in the public sector NERI WP 22 - Cover image for Outsourcing in the public sector NERI WP 22
Cover image for Outsourcing in the public sector NERI WP 22

Outsourcing in the public sector was the topic of the first NERI seminar of the new year. Public sector outsourcing is the process of contracting out a service or a function to another body, such as street cleaning or internal IT services. While outsourcing is frequently understood to mean contracting out to the private sector, services and functions can also be outsourced from one public body to another public body or to a non-profit making organisation.

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Permanent link | Categories: JobsWages

Working and living below the poverty line: ‘The Working Poor’

Posted on January 13, 2015 by Micheál Collins

2015 looks set to be a year when those at the bottom of the earnings distribution receive increased attention. Government will shortly establish a low pay commission which will (among other things) review the minimum wage. Later this month the CSO will provide new data on incomes and earnings (SILC) and during the summer the Living Wage technical group will update its estimate of the hourly earnings required to provide a basic, yet decent, standard of living for a full-time worker. No doubt those described as the ‘working poor’ will be frequently mentioned.

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeInequalityJobsLabour costsLiving wageWages

The Wages Elephant is in the Domestic Parlour

Posted on December 12, 2014 by Tom Healy

Tom Healy, Director NERI - Tom Healy, Director NERI
Tom Healy, Director NERI

Flat lining of GDP, water charges in the Republic, off and on balance sheets, Stormont talks stalling, tax cuts, USC, corporate taxes, double-Irish, knowledge boxes, regressive budgets, more tax cuts and Christmas is approaching fast. What’s missing from public discourse? You would never guess – wages. Yet, it is critical to economic recovery and medium-term social development. This Blog reviews the overall trends from the latest data on wages in both parts of Ireland. 

Wages falling in nominal and real terms in the Republic of Ireland

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Permanent link | Categories: Wages

UK recovery still unbalanced and unstable

Posted on December 03, 2014 by Paul Mac Flynn


Chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement contained few new announcements and some decidedly grim long-term trends for the UK economy. There were further details given on pre-announced infrastructural spending on house building, roads and rail in addition to earmarked funding for established science and research. The chancellor also outlined a major reform to the way stamp duty is levied in the United Kingdom, removing the "cliff edge" that exists as the price of a property moves between established bands. While reform of this tax is welcome, it could be perceived as a further attempt to boost house prices and activity in teh market. It is estimated that the cost of this policy will be in the region of £800m annually. Air passenger duty was also reduced along with a continuing freeze in fuel duty. There were small uprates to the personal tax allowance and the higher rate band.

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Permanent link | Categories: Government SpendingMacroeconomicsNorthern Ireland TaxationWages

The workings of austerity

Posted on November 08, 2014

Tom Healy, Director NERI - Tom Healy, Director NERI
Tom Healy, Director NERI

When, in November 2010, the President of the European Central Bank wrote to the then Irish Minister for Finance, he stated on behalf of the Governing Council of the ECB that the Irish Government undertake four specific actions. The first two included the following commitments: “1) The Irish government shall send a request for financial support to the Eurogroup; 2) The request shall include the commitment to undertake decisive actions in the areas of fiscal consolidation, structural reforms and financial sector restructuring, in agreement with the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the ECB.” 'With kind regards etc.'

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Permanent link | Categories: Government SpendingInvestmentMacroeconomicsTaxationWages

Trends in Average Incomes since 2006

Posted on November 04, 2014 by Micheál Collins

Income levels, whether for individuals or households, are far from perfect measures of progress and well-being. However, they offer one insight into the experience of recent years for households across the Republic. In particular, trends in disposable income (income after taxes and welfare payments) provide some understanding of what households have left in their pockets to spend each week/month or across the year.

The skewed nature of Ireland’s income distribution was highlighted in a recent NERI Research inBrief which I published in February. It is available here .

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Permanent link | Categories: GenderIncomeInequalityWages

Income Taxation and Budget 2015

Posted on October 17, 2014 by Micheál Collins

Budget 2015 (Public investment in social housing)

Judged from an income taxation perspective, Budget 2015 was reminiscent of Budgets of ten years ago, or more - maybe a worrying starting point! Cuts to income taxes dominated the announcements, and policy implementation within the Budget. This was at the cost of other priorities, including securing a more stable basis for growth and recovery in the years to come.

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Permanent link | Categories: IncomeLiving wageMacroeconomicsTaxationWages

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