Wish it could be better but here's a snapshot of Ireland in 2012

Higher unemployment; more work-days lost to industrial action; more people at risk of poverty; more divorces; and less disposable income are just some of the bleak findings of a snapshot of Ireland in the past year.

The Statistical Yearbook of Ireland for 2013 released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) paints a comprehensive picture of Ireland in the last year in key areas such as population, education and the economy.

Despite recent positive news on the Live Register, the study found that the number of people unemployed last year stood at 323,000 — up 1.8% from the 2011 figure of 317,400.

Last year 8,486 days were lost due to industrial action, compared to just 3,695 in 2011 and 6,602 in 2010. The overall unemployment rate also increased from 14.6% in 2011 to 15% in 2012.

In better news, the average number of people on the Live Register decreased from 444,900 in 2011 to 436,300 in 2012.

Average disposable income in 2011 was €21,440, a drop of more than 3% €on the 2010 figure of €22,138, while the at-risk-of-poverty rate jumped from 14.7% in 2010 to 16% in 2011.

In 2011, almost one quarter of the population experienced two or more types of enforced deprivation, compared with just 11.8% at the height of the boom in 2007.

The CSO found that the deprivation rate, for those not at risk of poverty was 21% in 2011 — a “statistically significant increase” from 19.1% in 2010.

Meanwhile:

* An extra 73 divorces were granted last year;

* The most popular babies’ names in 2012 were Jack and Emily. Jack is unchanged from 2007 and Emily retains its place since 2011;

* The building and construction industry continues to struggle. The CSO yearly snapshot found that the number of new houses for which planning permission was granted decreased by over 89% between 2003 to 2012. The number of new apartments for which planning permission was granted decreased by 97% in the same period;

* The number of new cancer cases diagnosed stood at 35,980 in 2011 — up 16.8% from 30,803 in 2008, while the number of in-patient beds in publicly funded acute hospitals fell by over 300 to 10,694 in 2011;

* There was a more positive outlook for the agricultural sector with output prices rising by over 33% between 2005 and 2012, while input prices rose by over 35% in the same period. In June of last year, there were 6.8m cattle in the country, 5.2m sheep and 1.6m pigs;

* Prices across virtually all sectors continue to rise with education experiencing a large increase in 2012, jumping almost 8.5%.

Consumer prices for energy products rose by 9.4% last year with the price of petrol jumping 6%.

The cost of services increased by 2% while the cost of goods grew by 1.2%. Building and construction material prices increased by 2.5% while the national Residential Property Price Index fell by 11.5% last year.


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