The latest economic figures released yesterday by the Central Statistics Office reveal that the recovery is firmly established. They show that the economy grew by more than 26% last year, an unprecedented result that eclipses anything happening during the Celtic Tiger years.
It is almost 10 times the level of growth in the EU and three times more than even the most optimistic economic forecasts.
The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 26.3% in 2015 compared to 2014, while gross national product (GNP) — which measures production of Irish businesses both here and abroad — was up 18.7%.
That’s the good news. The not so good news is that this extraordinary economic growth is not being matched by a corresponding fall in unemployment.
It should also be noted that these are revised figures. Last March, the CSO published preliminary results showing that GDP increased by 7.8% for the whole of 2015.
So why the sudden jump?
The answer may lie in the fact that much of the is as a result of global companies relocating assets to Ireland amid the global clampdown on multinational tax avoidance. In that event, we should take the new GDP and GNP figures with the proverbial pinch of salt and view employment growth (3%) and domestic spending (4.5%) as the true measures of economic performance.
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