Austerity unbound: Ireland in 2011


A snapshot of life in Ireland as austerity measures to tackle the economic crisis took hold was revealed today.

The Central Statistics Office released its yearbook of Ireland, giving a comprehensive picture with facts and figures on key areas of life, including population, education and the economy.

It revealed that the look of the labour market worsened in 2011, with jobs and pay still in decline since the recession.

The number of people in work fell to 1.821 million since 2010, while those unemployed rose 3.7 per cent to 304,500.

Figures revealed recipients of jobseeker supports soared by 161.4 per cent between 2003 and 2011, while the number receiving illness, disability and caring payments rose by 37.1 per cent.

For those in work, annual average earnings for 2011 were €35,924 across all economic sectors, a decrease of less than €200.

But the greatest drops in average weekly earnings were recorded in the construction (-13.4 per cent) and the arts, entertainment, recreation and other service activities (-12.7 per cent) sectors.

A staggering 23 per cent of people had hit the deprivation rate by 2010 and were experiencing two or more types of poverty.

Most of the data in the yearbook has already been revealed in publications around Census 2011, when the population was recorded as almost 4.6 million — but 5.5 million mobile phones were registered.

There were 74,650 births registered last year, with Jack and Emily the most popular babies’ names.

There were fewer gardaí, fewer new cars registered, and the number of planning permissions fell by a quarter, but more than a third of adults had college education.

Elsewhere, figures showed inflation rose by 2.6 per cent in 2011 while the General Government Balance was in deficit by more than €20 million, down from a record deficit of some €48 million a year earlier.

But on the plus side, exports for 2011 rose 4 per cent to 92,936 million, while imports were up 5 per cent to 48,238 million.

“This resulted in a trade surplus of €44,697 million (+3 per cent), the highest annual surplus on record,” the CSO added.