Incomes down 13% since top of boom

Average incomes shrank by almost 13% by 2012 from their peak during the Celtic Tiger boom, according to new figures.

Data on income from the Central Statistics Office also reveal some wide discrepancies in average levels on a county-by-county basis.

The CSO figures show income levels have decreased in every county since they peaked in 2008, just before the country suffered a major economic downturn as a result of the global recession. However, most income levels still remain above those recorded in 2004, despite the contraction in pay rates and social welfare payments.

While the decrease in average income nationally was 12.7% over the four-year period (down €3,576 to €24,650), the rate of decline was as high as 23% in Wexford and Meath.

The average income in Meath fell by €7,284 in the space of four years to €24,310. However, the fall in income level was far more moderate in Limerick, where the decrease was just 0.1% — down €19 to €26,590.

Although all counties saw levels fall between 2008 and 2010, some have begun to rise since then, while others have continued to decline.

The CSO figures show income levels rose by an average 0.6% nationally in 2012, with above-average growth recorded in Galway, Dublin, Sligo, and Kildare.

However, average incomes still fell in more than half of all counties, including by 6.7% in Monaghan — down by €1,362 to €19,120 — the second lowest rate in the country.

Dubliners have consistently enjoyed the highest average income level over the past decade. The average income in the capital rose by 1.5% in 2012 to €29,278.

At the other end of the scale, Donegal has had the lowest figure each year in the period 2003-2012, with average incomes falling by 2.2% in 2012 to just €18,677.

Limerick has had the second highest income level in the Republic for the second year in a row in 2012. At the peak just four years earlier, Limerick had the 12th highest income level.

Kildare has been in the top three counties over the decade to 2012, while Cork has consistently had the fourth highest rate since 2006.

Other counties whose income levels have fared comparatively better include Carlow, which had the third lowest income level in 2003 but is now the 11th highest. Other counties whose positions have improved in recent years are Kerry, Mayo, Sligo and Waterford.

In contrast,Wexford, which had the fifth highest income level in Ireland in 2008, had fallen to 21st position by 2012.

Among other counties which have seen their income levels slump in recent years are Cavan, Laois, Longford, and Meath.

The breakdown of figures for Munster show:

 - Clare €22,185 (–€4,623) down 17.2%.

 - Cork €24,832 (–€3,236) down 11.5%.

 - Kerry €21,134 (–€2,062) down 8.9%.

 - Limerick €26,590 (–€19) down 0.1%.

 - North Tipperary €22,351 (–€4,757) down 17.5%.

 - South Tipperary €21,976 (–€4,192) down 16.0%.

 - Waterford €22,847 (–€3,597) down 13.6%.

By contrast, Dublin’s average income fell 8.8% (€2,835) to €29,278.

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