Economic & Social Overview May 2018

Rewarding Work and Encouraging Enterprise


  • 100,000 jobs have been created since the Government formed in 2016.
  • Unemployment rate is under 6%, at 5.9%, for the first time since 2008.
  • Wages have grown by 2.5% in the last 12 mths, with inflation only 0.5%.


  • 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.