Many still in financial distress as young leave

The recovery in the economy is leaving many behind while the latest figures show the country has suffered a huge loss in well educated workers.

Ireland’s loss has been a gain to Germany, Australia and the US as the country lost 2% of its population in 2012 alone.

Half of the 89,500 that left were Irish nationals, meaning the country joined Latvia and Lithuania in having the highest emigration rates.

Close to 30,000 EU nationals — many Lithuanians, Latvians and Poles left the country, many to return home.

Ireland’s old pattens of emigration returned with many going to Britain but close to half going to non-EU countries — mainly Australia and the US.

The percentage going to the US was 10 times higher than the average for the EU with a big increase in the number of employer sponsored visas, intra-company transfers up by 67% and a big increase in J1 visas for students.

The numbers of Irish going to Australia tripled to 10,000 in 2013 from 2,800 in 2008, making the Irish together with the British the single largest number of economic migrates to the country.

The numbers coming into Ireland fell by a third in 2012 compared to four years previously. Instead they went to Germany — where inflows increased by three quarters, and to Austria where they went up by a quarter.

Ireland still has the third highest share of workers from other EU countries at 11% of the total labour force with the vast majority of them in the country for more than ten years.

While a third of Irish workers would consider going to another EU country to work in the next decade, this is down a little from three years ago and much less than in Sweden where despite low unemployment rates more than half say they would leave.

Ireland is one of the few crisis countries where unemployment has dropped, but employment commissioner Laszlo Andor warns that it is too early to celebrate.

“The risk remains that the economic recovery so far may not be robust enough to ensure a sustainable path towards job’s creation,” Mr Andor warns.

He adds too that there are signs that the recovery is leaving the most vulnerable behind with gross disposable household incomes continuing to decline in Ireland, Greece and the Czech Republic.

Financial distress has eased somewhat in Ireland where it has dropped from affecting 30% of households early last year to 23% now, but this is up from 10% in 2007.


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