Friday, November 30, 2007

'Last year' of the Tiger as boom peters out

The Celtic Tiger era could be over next year, according to a leading economist.

He said that the growth in the Irish labour market had been the envy of Europe but now the 'second wave' of the boom was coming to an end.

Brian McCormick from FAS predicted that the number of net new jobs will plummet from 69,000 this year to only 17,000 next year. At the same time the unemployment rate will rise from 4.5pc to 5.2pc next year.

Net immigration will be halved from 70,000 this year to 35,000 next year, he told the sixth annual FAS Labour conference held in Farmleigh House.

He said that something like 400,000 Personal Public Service (PPS) numbers had been issued to immigrants over the past few years, mainly to those coming from Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and the Baltic States. About two-thirds of the recipients worked in Ireland at one stage or another and many were still here while others had returned home.

Many of the immigrants worked in the building industry but, with the slowdown in that sector, some of these skilled personnel would move to other countries where construction was picking up.


The turnaround comes after unprecedented success in the Irish labour market which began in earnest in 1998. An additional 600,000 jobs have been created since thenr.

Most of the recent growth was driven by consumer demand and by the construction sector. But now there is a slowdown in that sector along with concerns about competitiveness and credit, added Mr McCormick.

Dr James Wickham, TCD's Employment Research Centre, noted that a high percentage of returned emigrants and new immigrants had skills and third level qualifications. But people could also leave said Dr Wickham who commented that there was a global 'war' for talent.

The Indo

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