Policy Research in Macroeconomics

Ireland: for 55 months, year-on-year unemployment worsens

Today’s FT Alphaville has an article on “How to export to look less peripheral” focusing on Ireland’s rising exports. It seems these are heavily based on rather uncertainly located IT services.  As per the title, it questions whether Ireland should still be considered part of the peripheral EZ difficult squad. The comments are in particular worth reading (well, we contributed), discussing inter alia Ireland’s tax haven status, and the fact that Irish GNP has been nose-diving even while GDP seems to rise a little, thanks mainly to actual and possibly putative exports.

But where Ireland remains truly in line with the other “peripherals” is its rate of unemployment, 14.8%, which is not declining.  On the contrary, since we posted our PRIME piece on “Austerity Ireland – 5 years of worsening unemployment” in early July, the July unemployment figures have been published by the Irish Statistical office (CSO).

They confirm and add to the point we made. If you compare any month since January 2008 with the same month the year before, up to and including July 2012, in every single case the figure is higher.

(It has risen from 4.4% in January 2007 to 14.8 in June and July 2012). See Table 3 on page 7 for the full data.

This now applies without exception for 55 consecutive months… It must be one of the strongest “laws” in the whole of economics! Ireland’s economic problems are deep and lasting, and it is quite wrong to claim Ireland as any evidence for the benefits of austerity policies.

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