World Economy

Irish Economy Slowing

Irish Economy SlowingIrish Economy Slowing

For a half decade after 2007, writing or speaking about the Irish economy was a grim task; it was always to be the bearer of bad news.

From 2012, however, things were different. The dashboard of economic indicators showed an ever improving picture. Nearly every measure was pointing in the right direction, Fin24 reported.

But now, for the first time in four years, there is significant evidence that the recovery is running out of steam.

An economic slowdown is never something to be welcomed, but with the challenges of Brexit and the step change that occurred in industrial relations last week, it is coming at a particularly bad time.

If the slowdown turns to slump, or even outright recession, the position on public finances, among many other things, will quickly turn critical.

Last Friday, two main indicators of the health of the economy—sales in shops and factory production—were published. They are, respectively, slowing and in effective stagnation.

Earlier in the week, new tax figures showed that the amount flowing into the government coffers fell for the second time in three months.

Both car and truck sales also contracted in October. These developments add to other negative trends: goods exports to Britain are down substantially since January and consumer confidence indicators have been flagging for most of the year.

It should be said that these indicators, even when taken together, don’t say that a slump is inevitable. But they are to the economy what red lights flashing in a cockpit are to an airplane.

Last week also brought higher figures on the numbers claiming jobless benefit and the (different) formal measure of unemployment in October.


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