Jobs in exporting firms will continue to be lost despite 2% growth in sales

JOBS will continue to be lost by Irish exporting firms through to the end of 2010 despite an upturn in the first half which resulted in sales growing by 2%.

In its review of the first half of 2009 the Irish Exporters Association (IEA) warned its members could be forced to axe another 35,000 jobs by the end of 2010.

The IEA estimates that 25,000 jobs have been lost in the manufacturing sector in the past year alone, as the global recession continues to bite.

Chief executive of the IEA, John Whelan, has called for a widening of the Employment Subsidy Scheme and warned of the dangers of this economy being over dependent on a small number of major exporting firms.

The IEA’s first half review of the country’s export performance, published yesterday, shows an economy heavily reliant on the exports of pharmaceuticals, chemicals and medical devices.

These sectors continue to defy the global economic slump and have been a vital factor in driving the export growth that has returned in the fist six months of the current year, according to the IEA.

Analysts said chemicals and pharmaceuticals tend to be recession proof and the underlying demand for them has brought Irish export performance back into positive territory.

For the 12 months of 2009 Irish exports are forecast to rise by 1% to €155 billion, according to the new report from the IEA.

Economic expansion will have to be export led the Central Bank and other economic forecasters have said in their recent analyses of the outlook for the economy going forward.

Over reliance on construction was seen as a major weakness because it contributed twice the economic growth delivered by the sector in other developed economies.

The IEA’s half-year review reveals that merchandise exports showed a return to growth of just under 2% per cent, which the association called “a remarkable performance given the current economic climate”.

It is forecasting that merchandise exports will increase by 2% in 2009 with service exports falling by 1%. Combined, that would see total Irish exports rising by 1% this year.


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