Unemployment in Limerick has fallen below pre pandemic levels while the number at work has increased to 239,700 according to a new economic report.
However, the report warned of a bleak housing situation across the region with just 1,331 homes completed across Limerick, Clare and Tipperary last year.
The Mid-West Economic Insights Report also found that Limerick City has a commercial property vacancy rate of 19.4%. Limerick Chamber's rental tracker, which monitors the availability of residential rental across Limerick City and suburbs found that in April just 21 homes were available for rent for the whole month – with an average price of €1,677. Of these homes, just five were one-beds and just eight were apartments.
Of the new homes built last year three in every 10 were purchased by owner occupiers while the state accounted for four in every 10.
"While employment certainly took a hit in some sectors at the start of 2021 such as retail and wholesale, other areas such as the industrial sector saw their employment numbers grow over the course of the pandemic," the report states.
"Housing is the primary cause of concern for employees, employers and the general public right now," according to the report's authors, Limerick Chamber's Chief Economist and Director of Policy Seán Golden and Economist Diarmuid O’Shea.
"The provision of housing is a primary concern of Limerick Chamber members, and with recent announcements of either expansions or new investment into the region, having the necessary housing infrastructure in place for these and other future employees will be crucial to the continued development of the Mid-West."
"It is deeply worrying that owner occupiers account for such a small portion of new homes delivered across the Mid-West, with the state having a larger role to play in housing in many areas."
However, the report does highlight key areas that provide the Mid-West with a unique selling point when compared to other regions, namely the high prevalence of higher education institutions which lead to a high concentration of a well-educated workforce.