Ireland fifth most expensive state in European Union

Ireland has highest fertility rate and second highest class size in EU according to CSO

Ireland was the only country in the EU to experience a decrease in inflation between 2008 and 2012 but prices remain high by EU standards according to a new report from the Central Statistics Office.

Ireland was the only country in the EU to experience a decrease in inflation between 2008 and 2012 but prices remain high by EU standards according to a new report from the Central Statistics Office.

Tue, Jan 21, 2014, 13:52

Ireland is the fifth most expensive state in the EU, according to a new report from the Central Statistics Office.

According to the report, only Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Luxembourg are more expensive places to live within the EU, with Irish prices 15 per cent above the EU average.

The report, Measuring Ireland’s Progress 2012, said this was a “considerable improvement” on the 2008 figure, when Irish prices were the second highest in the EU, at 30 per cent above the EU average.

The report looked at comparative statistics for Ireland against other EU member states in that year. Among the categories examined are the economy, employment and education.

Ireland has the highest fertility rate and the second lowest divorce rate in the EU in 2012. Its population is increasing at the third highest rate in the EU and it has the highest proportion of young people and the second lowest proportion of old people in the EU.

Average class size at primary level in Ireland is the second highest in the EU, though the early school-leaver rate is better than the EU average. The proportion of the population aged 25-34 in Ireland that has completed third-level education is the fourth highest in the EU.

As regards macroeconomic indicators, GDP rose slightly by 0.2 per cent in 2012. The public balance deficit was the third highest of any EU member state at just over 8 per cent of GDP, while government debt increased to 117.4 per cent of GDP, having been at only 44.2 per cent of GDP in 2008.

The number of new houses and apartments, after peaking at almost 90,000 in 2006, collapsed to 8,488 in 2012, below the level in 1970. Ireland’s employment rate was the fifth lowest in the EU, and its unemployment rate was the fifth highest in the EU. The productivity of the Irish workforce remained above the EU average.

The CSO main observations were:

Economy:

Despite low growth rate, Ireland had the third highest GDP per capita in the EU at 29 per cent above the EU average, although, based on GNI (gross national income), Ireland was the eleventh highest at 5 per cent above the EU average.

The productivity of the Irish workforce in 2012, measured by GDP per person employed, was 43 per cent higher than the EU average. As Irish employees work longer hours, the productivity per hour worked is relatively lower, but still 29 per cent above the EU average.

Employment and unemployment:

The employment rate (for those aged 15-64) in Ireland rose from 65.2 per cent in 2003 to 69.1 per cent in 2007, but fell to 58.8 per cent by 2012. However the employment rate increased slightly in 2013 to 60.2 per cent. The male employment rate was stable over the 2003 to 2008 period at about 76 per cent but fell sharply over the next three years to 62.4 per cent in 2012 before increasing slightly to 64.6 per c ent in 2013.

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