Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Questions (34)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

34. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the effect of the return to recession on the jobs numbers and job creation numbers. [33503/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

The most recent Quarterly National Accounts published by the Central Statistics Office on 27 June indicate that for the first Quarter of this year, Ireland’s GDP declined by 0.6% compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. This follows on from contractions in the last two quarters of 2012. The contraction in GDP in the first quarter of 2013 is attributable to the fall in consumer spending and a decline in exports due to the impact of a weak global economy.

However, these figures should not be seen in isolation. Gross National Product increased by 2.9% in the first quarter of the year. It should also be noted that the most recent trade figures published by the CSO show that the value of goods exported recovered in April 2013 and were up 6% on the same month in 2012. Meanwhile, the volume of retail sales increased modestly in May. Despite the contraction in GDP, we have seen an annual increase of 20,500 in the number of people in employment to Quarter 1 2013, with employment growth on a seasonally adjusted basis up by 23,700 in the last three quarters.

The unemployment rate decreased from 15% in the first quarter of 2012 to 13.7% in the first quarter of 2013 – the first time the unemployment rate has fallen below 14% for some years. The Government will continue to build on this progress through the Action Plan for Jobs, as we transform the economy from one based on unsustainable debt to one based on enterprise, innovation and exports.