Ireland continues to grow out of recession following a second successive yearly increase in Gross National Product (GNP) of 3.4%. However, reports by real businesses suggest otherwise.
According to latest figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), monthly consumer prices increased by 0.1% in April having remained unchanged at the same point last year. The most significant positive changes were witnessed in the Transport and Services industries.
Furthermore, the Irish Independent has reported on the European Commission’s latest economic forecast which has praised Ireland for its ‘remarkable’ turnaround in the jobs market. Understandably, the report has taken Ireland’s performance in the labour market as evidence that the economy is recovering. Agriculture and hospitality are reported as the two main sectors that are leading Ireland back to recovery, contributing to the total 61,000 jobs and 3% net employment gain last year.
GDP growth forecast 2014However, despite official records and a general consensus in the media that the economy is looking up, only 4% of respondents to the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer* can claim that their business is actually prospering in the current economy. Conversely, nearly 90% say business is either faring much the same as it was a year ago, or is tougher than ever. It seems there is a disparity between what official reports and the media are describing and what Irish business owners are actually experiencing.
The latest Ernst & Young Eurozone Economic Forecast suggests Ireland is performing better than other peripheral Eurozone countries (such as Spain and Portugal) in recovering from the crisis, and is expected to expand by 1.8% in 2014, up from the 1.7% growth forecast in December. GDP is predicted to increase by a further 1.9% in 2015 and 2.8% a year in 2016–18.