Economic & Social Overview March 2018

‘Building a Republic of Opportunity’

Rewarding Work and Encouraging Enterprise

Jobs

• 100,000 jobs have been created since the Government formed in 2016.
• Unemployment rate is down to 6.1% from a peak of 15.9% in 2012.
• Wages have grown by 2.5% in the last 12 mths, with inflation only 0.5%.

Growth

• We were the fastest growing economy in Europe in 2017 (GDP).
• ‘Domestic’ economic growth grew by 3.9% in 2017.

So All Parts of Ireland Share Prosperity & Opportunity

A Regional Recovery
• ‘Project Ireland 2040’ links spatial planning and investment for the first time. It plans 75% of all population growth to occur outside of Dublin
• It includes a Rural Development Fund with €1bn additional investment.
• Over 4 out of 5 new jobs in the last 12 months were outside of Dublin.
• Disposable income (after tax) is increasing in every region (2016 data).

A Fair Recovery
• €5 p.w. increase in social welfare in both Budget 2017 & 2018, for pensions, jobseekers (JB&JA), carers’ allowance, & disability allowance.
• We cut the USC again in Budget 2018; the 4th successive cut under FG targeted at low and middle income workers.
• We increased the entry point to the higher rate of income tax by €750
• 4 increases in the minimum wage to €9.55, a total increase of 25%.
• Ireland is becoming a more equal place: in 2015 our Gini co-efficient improved (measuring income equality) & deprivation fell significantly.
• Published proposals to tackle precarious work and zero-hour contracts.

Investing in Our Future
• New childcare affordability measures with both universal and targeted schemes benefitting 45,000 children already (from Sept 2017).
• Introduced 2 weeks paid paternity leave for new fathers (Sept. 2016).
• Completed the roll-out of the free 2nd full pre-school year, worth on average €4,000 per child (Sept 2018).

Public Services
• 7,900 new social houses to be used in 2018: 3,800 directly built by the state, with the rest under Part 5, voids, acquisitions & long term leases.
• 1,800 new frontline staff to be employed in health in 2018.
• 2,200 extra teaching posts in schools in 2018, after 2,400 posts in 2017.
• 800 new Garda recruits in 2018, after 1,400 recruits over last 2 years.