Fast Facts about Industry in Ireland
From about the mid-1990′s Ireland began to boom, the world’s press descended to observe the economic miracle that was taking place and the Celtic Tiger became famous around the globe.
It seemed like the good times would last forever – jobs were plentiful, the skyline of every city and many towns was a mass of cranes, new houses, new shopping malls, new hotels sprouted up everywhere.
Then came the global financial crisis, which is hitting Ireland very hard, and everything started to change.
Where will it go from here? The jury is still out on that – but we’re keeping an eye on the economic stats and there are lots of them, regularly updated, on this page, in one easy print out.
Employment & Unemployment
Recent unofficial figure suggest that the trend in unemployment has taken a sharp upward turn, mainly due to the decline in construction employment. This has not yet, as of the end of 2008, been fully reflected in official figures – although the unemployment numbers are already up, things are likely to get a lot worse.
Agriculture was once Ireland’s main economic driver, but no longer. It now accounts for just somewhere around 6% of GDP and in reality we are no longer an agrarian nation. However it is still important from a social as well as an economic perspective, as the farming lobby groups so loudly and often remind us.
Value of Agricultural output (in millions)
Livestock Numbers (in millions)
Principle Crops (2007)
|Output in Tonnes||794,000||155,000||1,198,000||488,000||1,505,000|
Much of the vaunted successes of the Celtic Tiger era in Ireland was based on construction, with massive numbers of house, apartment, hotel and commercial building projects creating employment not just for Irish workers but for large numbers of immigrant workers also. Property boomed, lots of people became very rich.
Lots of people also took too many risks, and now with the property market at a standstill, prices falling steeply and the banks reluctant to lend money, it’s all falling apart. Just how far it will go and how much pain will result is not yet clear, but what is certain is that it will be bloody.
Planning Permissions Granted:
These numbers are likely to be very significantly lower in 2008/2009, given the effects that the global financial crisis has had on the Irish construction industry.
Average Weekly Earnings:
Although these earnings may seem high, the issue now for most construction workers is getting a job – as the industry slows down (some would say collapses) more and more are finding themselves out of work for the first time in years.
There is often surprise that the top revenue generator in Ireland is the chemical industry – it hardly fits in with the country’s image. The reason is primarily the large number of multinational pharmaceutical companies who have production facilities here.
Industrial Products and Value (value in millions, 2007)
|Chemicals, chemical products, man-made fibres etc||28,239||32,996|
|Electrical and optical equipment||25,621||27,211|
|Food products; beverages and tobacco||16,988||19,038|
|Metals & metal products, machinery & equipment||3,851||5,038|
|Mining, quarrying & transport||1,958||2,945|
|Paper & paper products, publishing, reproduction of computer media||13,897||19,192|
|Textiles & textile products, leather & leather products||637||452|
|Wood & wood products, non-metallic mineral products||4,162||5,521|
|Total Value of Products||99,851||115,614|
Average weekly earnings of industrial workers
It’s clear from these figures that there is still a significant gap between the earnings of women and men. Irish women are active in the workforce, but still more likely to have lower paid work, even when account is taken of the number who work part-time.
Tourism and Travel
Tourism is big in Ireland – and not just in terms of incoming tourists, the Irish themselves take a lot of holidays both at home and overseas. Irish people made over 8 million trips abroad in 2007 – almost 2 trips for every man, woman and child. For an Island nation that is an extremely high figure.
Visitors to Ireland (in millions)
|USA and Canada||0.84||0.97||1.07|
|Reason for Journey|
|Visit to Friends/Relatives||1.60||1.80||2.24|
Overseas Trips by Irish Residents (in millions)
|USA and Canada||0.84||0.99||1.02|