CSO yearbook paints picture of struggling State

Thu, Nov 1, 2012, 00:00

A DETAILED new study of Ireland shows a State still struggling to come to terms with rising unemployment, falling wages and an increase in average inflation rates.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) Yearbook for 2011, published yesterday, gives a complete statistical breakdown of the state of our nation.

Figures and information gathered across a range of State bodies give a detailed insight into economic and other activity of Irish citizens throughout the year.

Employment and income levels took a further battering even as the numbers receiving jobseekers’ supports, illness, disability and carer’s payments continued to increase. The number of those without jobs increased by 3.7 per cent from 293,600 in 2010 to 304,500 last year. Average earnings dropped slightly from €36,117 to €35,924 across all sectors.

Construction, in particular, took a hit with average weekly wages dropping 13.4 per cent. Planning permissions were also down 25 per cent - from 6,347 to 4,744 last year.

Gross national product (GNP) decreased by 2.5 per cent on 2010 and inflation on average rose by 3.6 per cent, although the general government deficit of €20.1 billion was down from a record high of €48.4 billion the year before.

Between 2003 and 2011, the number on jobseekers’ supports increased by 161.4 per cent, while the number of those receiving illness, disability and carers’ payments was up 37.1 per cent.

New census figures from last April put the population at 4,588,252 – an increase of 8.2 per cent in five years.

The number of divorced persons increased by about 50 per cent in the same period, from 59,534 to 87,770.

There were just 326 fewer births in Ireland last year (74,650) compared to 2010 and the most popular boy’s name was Jack, as had been the case since 2007. Emily was last year’s female name of choice.

Although the latest statistics are not recorded in the yearbook, CSO figures show that visits to Ireland from overseas increased to 6.6 million last year from 6.1 million.

Interestingly, Ireland had more mobile phone subscriptions last year than it had people –there was a total of 5.5 million accounts.

There were also more sheep (4.8 million) than people in the country.