CSO figures released today have shown open up a window into Ireland both economically and socially. The report commented on food prices, education, the economy and population.
The report outlined that Irish prices are still the fifth most expensive in Europe and 17% higher than the EU average.
The main points of the Measuring Irelands Progress 2010 report are as follows-
Economy: The GDP growth rate was -0.4% in 2010. The public balance deficit was 32.4% of GDP, the largest by far of any EU member state. And government debt increased substantially to 96.2% of GDP in 2010, the fourth highest debt/GDP ratio in the EU, having been 25% only three years previously. Nonetheless, in 2010 Ireland had the joint third
highest GDP per capita in the EU at 25% above the EU average, although, based on GNI, Ireland was the eleventh highest. Ireland’s gross fixed capital formation fell sharply since 2007 to only 11.3% of GDP in 2010, lower than any other EU state. The productivity of the Irish workforce in 2010, measured by GDP per person employed, was just over a third higher than the EU average. As Irish employees work longer hours, the productivity per hour worked is relatively lower, but still about 23% above the EU average.
Prices: Inflation in Ireland (as measured by the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices) fell in 2010, with Latvia being the only other EU state where prices fell. Over the past decade, Ireland became less competitive, with the harmonised competitiveness indicator (deflated by consumer prices) increasing by 17% between 2001 and 2010; this indicates a
significant deterioration in price competitiveness for Ireland vis-à-vis our main trading partners. Appreciation of the Euro against other major currencies contributed to this decline. Ireland had the fifth highest price levels in the EU in 2010.
Population: Ireland had the highest percentage increase in population between 2000 and 2010 in the EU. The rate of natural increase of the population in Ireland was 10.2 per 1,000 in 2009 compared with an EU average of only 1.0. In 2009, Ireland was the only EU country with a fertility rate greater than 2; the EU average was 1.6. The divorce rate in Ireland was 0.7 divorces per 1,000 population in 2009, the lowest rate in the EU. In 2010, Ireland had the highest proportion of young people (0-14) in the EU, and the lowest proportion of old people (65 and over); these combined to give Ireland an age dependency ratio that was similar to the EU average.
Education: Irish 15 year old students had the joint 17th highest mathematical literacy among participating EU countries in 2009 and were below the OECD average, while on reading literacy Ireland was eighth highest and ranked slightly above the OCED average. In 2010, 46% of the population aged 25-34 had completed third level education, the third highest rate across the EU. The proportion of the Irish population aged 18-24 who left school with at most lower secondary education was 10.5% in 2010, better than the EU average of 14.1%. Average class size at primary level in Ireland in 2008/2009 was 24.2, the second highest in the EU.
Measuring Ireland’s Progress 2010 is available on the CSO web site www.cso.ie