The country is set for record employment next year, according to a buoyant economic outlook report from employers’ group Ibec.
The organisation’s latest Quarterly Economic Outlook, covering the first quarter of this year, published today, forecasts 2.2m people at work next year as the economy heads towards full employment.
Aligned with a forecasted economic growth of 5.6% this year and Irish workers set to experience the quickest real wage growth in Europe, Ibec said total household purchasing power, excluding borrowing, has never been higher in the State’s history.
The group tempered its optimism by claiming domestic business costs were also growing, as well as pointing to the threat posed by Brexit.
Ibec’s head of tax and fiscal policy, Gerard Brady, said the economy was moving into a new “post-recovery” phase supported by factors such as robust trade and rising incomes.
He said: “There is a particular threat from rising costs for our indigenous sectors, which are already dealing with the uncertainty of Brexit.
“Our analysis today shows, however, that the price of Irish food exports going abroad has been badly affected by the sterling exchange rate shock and is back to levels last witnessed in 2009. Feedback from members suggests this price pressure is being absorbed largely by margin erosion. That cannot last indefinitely.”
The report says there is “little evidence” to support concerns over the overall quality of jobs created in recent years, but adds that Ireland is still “extremely vulnerable to external price shocks through exchange rate changes, interest rates, or energy prices”.
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