IRELAND’S RECOVERY SKY-ROCKETED last year according to preliminary figures for 2014 released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) today.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2014 increased by 4.8%, almost four times the average for the Eurozone (which is 1.3%).
GDP measures the total value of all work done within an economy over a period, i.e. the income generated.
The increase is in stark contrast to the mere 0.2% growth in GDP recorded in 2013.
All told the figures are a resounding endorsement of the progress made in the economy over the last 12 months, both in terms of consumer spending, business performance and the value of imports and exports.
Gross National Product (GNP) which strips out economic flows to and from other countries also improved at a rate of 5.2%, compared to 3.3% in 2013, indicating that domestically the economy is firing on all cylinders also.
GDP is the more important of the two statistics given governmental budget calculations are fundamentally based on it.
Agriculture led the sectors that recorded increases in economic value with a 10.1% increase over 2013.
Transport and communications were next highest with an 8% increase, and while industry only recorded a 1.5% jump, building and construction increased by 6.9% in real terms.
Imports were up 13.2%, slightly ahead of exports with 12.6%.
Speaking on RTE’s News at One finance minister Michael Noonan expressed his satisfaction with the latest figures.
“An economy growing at a rate of 5% creates a lot of extra jobs, it gives me the resources to repair our services and to fulfill our commitments to reduce personal taxes further,” he said.
Noonan acknowledged that with such positive figures to hand the chances of a relaxation in his budgetary approach are more than good.
I expect to get the (budget) flexibility I require. We’ll beat the targets we’ve set for ourselves, all going well.
Noonan further underlined that full employment – which would represent an unemployment rate of about 5% – was a very possible outcome if our economy continues to grow at the rate it currently is.
The last figure for unemployment was 10.1%, by next year it will be in the 9′s, the following year in the 8′s and so on.
We’re committed to full employment, and we now know with the figures we’re seeing that this is very achievable in the near future.