Skewed figures - Economic growth

In company with some of the world’s top economists, the Irish public was also baffled by yesterday’s statistics purporting to show that the economy grew by a whopping 26% last year.

Not only has this growth rate been described as truly massive, it means Ireland beat the second best performer in the eurozone by 21 percentage points.

No wonder Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin raised a question about it in the Dáil. And equally it is no wonder that the Taoiseach also sounded perplexed as he tried gallantly to explain something for which there seems to be no real comprehendible explanation. It is also no wonder that Nobel laureate Walter Krugman described it as “leprechaun economics”. If the real economy had mushroomed at that rate and continued to so do, the financial crisis besetting third-level education would soon be resolved, young teachers, nurses, and guards would be paid a proper wage, hospital queues would end, and the unions would be happy. No such luck — the figures were skewed due to a series of one-off occurrences.


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