Economic & Social Overview Dec 2016

We have Restored a Strong Economy


  • 188,000 jobs have been created since the Action Plan for Jobs in 2012.
  • Unemployment rate is down to 7.3% from a peak of 15.1% in 2011.


  • The economy is now bigger than the size it was before the crash.
  • We were the fastest growing economy in Europe in 2014 & 2015 (GDP).
  • While GDP data can be problematic for Ireland, consumer spending is a reliable domestic statistic and it grew by 4.5% in 2015 and 1.7% in 2014.

To Support a Fair Society

A Regional Recovery

  • Disposable income (after tax) is increasing in every county (2014 data).
  • Employment has increased in all 8 regions since Action Plan for Jobs.
  • Over 2/3rds of new jobs in the last 12 months were outside of Dublin.
  • We published 8 Regional Jobs Plans as part of a €250m strategy.

A Fair Recovery

  • €5 p.w. increase in social welfare: pensions, jobseekers (JB&JA), carers’ allowance, disability allowance, and one parent family payment (2017).
  • USC & Income tax cuts targeted at low and middle income workers (benefits are capped at €70,000 salary).
  • Increased the minimum wage by 20%, from €7.65 to €9.25.
  • Core weekly social welfare rates were protected during consolidation.

Investing in Our Future

  • A new ‘Single Affordable Childcare Scheme’, from Sept 2017, which provides both universal and targeted subsidies towards childcare costs.
  • Completed the roll-out of the 2nd free pre-school year.
  • Introduced 2 weeks of paternity leave from September 2016.
  • 2,400 extra teaching posts in schools, including 900 resource teachers.

Public Services

  • We commit to an extra €6.75bn current spending on public services, using the proceeds of a strong economy.
  • We commit to €5.1bn extra capital spend, above the €42bn capital plan.
  • Employment in the health sector increased by over 8,000 in the last 2 years; with over 80% of this increase in front line activities.