Monday, March 24, 2014

Falling Unemployment Rate Signals Jobs Growth

Recently, I heard a strange news report on the radio.  A large flock of sheep were blocking the M50, one of Dublin's largest motorways. Invariably, the woolly flock was protesting the imminent start of Lent and the Easter season, during which millions of Irish people turn to Lamb as a main course.  Sheep, as you can imagine, aren't particularly pleased with such practices. Hence, the protest. 

A year ago, blocking the M50 would not have been an effective use of sheep power because this vital artery was almost empty. Because so many people had lost their jobs, I suspect that the local councils were considering turning motorways into expansive football pitches just to use up the vacant concrete. But now, a year later, Ireland's economy is getting back on track. The M50 is buzzing again and sheep will have to find a different way to protest their victim-hood.  And a buzzing M50 means that Ireland’s job market is picking up too.  So....

If you're considering a move to Ireland, now just might be the time.

According to Ireland's Central Statistics Office ( unemployment is falling like a brick and now stands at 11.9 percent.  This is slightly above the European Union average, but considering the lousy state of the economy only months ago, Ireland seems to be turning a corner.

A wide range of sectors are now looking to fill key positions with the skills of talented people.  Information technology, tourism-related accommodation and food service jobs, and administration and support services activities would seem to be leading the comeback.  Even construction jobs are gaining ground, with almost 7,000 more people employed today than a year ago. The Irish Independent, one of Ireland's largest newspapers, reports "The Irish economy will pick up speed this year....There are indications that domestic demand is starting to perform more strongly....The (Irish) economy is set to expand 1.8 percent (in 2014) and 2.9 percent (in 2015)." The article also points out that the UK economy - Ireland's largest trading partner - is booming strongly which will contribute to continued growth for Ireland.

Of course, there are still dark clouds on the horizon that could scuttle the upturn. Ireland's open economy is still heavily in debt. We'll all be paying off the cost of this Great Recession for generations to come. Ireland's banking system is now less competitive because a number of banks either exited the market or went out of business during the past few years.  This makes getting a loan, mortgage, or small business credit facility difficult. The lack of a competitive banking system, and the low-risk strategy adopted by the remaining banks, could derail Ireland's recovery (and its job market) because the lack of monetary infusion could deflate Ireland's fragile recovery.  

International tensions could also negatively impact the country.  For instance, Putin's Crimean land grab could result in mayhem across Europe as the EU applies sanctions against Russia and Russia responds in kind. Ireland could suffer greatly if tensions escalate.

But for now, all seems positive enough. In fact, the outlook of many Irish people is more positive than it's been since 2007 and the start of the recessionary disaster. 

If you're thinking of getting work in Ireland, simply Google 'Ireland jobs' or similar key phrases. Alternatively, see the list of links at the right hand side of this Blog. But if you're coming over, do it soon. Before the sheep finally get really nasty and turn the M50 into pasture. 

A Survivor's Guide to Living in Ireland 2014 Kindle Edition Available Now
Want to learn more about living in Ireland? Are you thinking of traveling to Ireland or moving to Ireland? If so, you might consider the purchase of the 2014 Kindle ebook edition of A Survivor's Guide to Living in Ireland. Now 80,000+ words long, and having sold over 10,000 copies in its various editions, it could make the perfect gift for those interested in this wonderful country. Simply click on any of the links above to purchase this new Kindle version. You can also download various free aps to read this Kindle version on any PC or Mac. 


  1. Thank you, Tom, for your wonderful blog. I'm an American looking to move to Ireland within the next couple of years for no other reason except I love the country and want to be there. I've found a lot of helpful information here without getting the daunting feeling that my goal is completely impossible. I was wondering if your book available only as an ebook or is it also in print form?

  2. Thank you Heather for your lovely note. I sure hope that your dreams gain momentum...Regarding the book: Right now it's available only in Kindle eBook format. If you purchase it, you can also download a Free App from Amazon to view the Kindle edition on any PC or Mac. Wishing you well, and I'm right here if I can help...and thanks so much for the wonderful comments... Tom

  3. Of course the unemployment rate is coming down, due to most of Ireland immigrating. If you're thinking of getting work in Ireland, simply Google 'Ireland jobs' or similar key phrases. and you will be bombarded with recruiters just looking for your CV that have an automated mailing system sending you out jobs that do not exist. If you want to survive in Ireland at this moment in time, talk to all the unemployed people you know and see how they survive.

  4. Agreed, Anonymous. At least in part. As stated elsewhere in this Blog, the government is reporting a current unemployment rate of 11.5 percent or so - which frankly I don't believe. I'd say the real employment rate is over 14%.

    Then as you point out, factor in all of the people that have left the country for the UK, Australia, Canada, the US, and elsewhere - all leaving because they have not been able to find work. Ireland's CSO (Central Statistics Office, reports that in the 2 year period (2012 and 2013)178,000 people or so left that country. Assuming that almost 400,000 people were out of work, that's almost 50% of all unemployed - or almost 4 percent of Ireland's entire population - fleeing the country because they couldn't get a job.

    And you also rightly point out that surviving here as an unemployed person is very, very difficult. The 'upside' (if there is one) is that most unemployed (but not all) have recourse to certain social systems including JobSeeker's allowance, a medical card (which provides almost free medical care), rent allowance, and similar. This compares favorably with the US in which many unemployed people find themselves without much social assistance after a year or so (though Congress extended this period during the Great Recession). However, Ireland's social protection programs do not compare favorably with many other EU countries.The bottom line: being unemployed in Ireland means that you're probably not going to starve, but you're not going to like it either.

    I really do try to take a balanced view, however. I have watched family and friends suffer due to Ireland's recession. Many have lost jobs, houses, and businesses. Personally speaking, I've also been subject to the downdraft on a number of levels. This is my 4th recession in Ireland and I'm tired of the suffering that people must endure.

    The blame, I believe, lies squarely with governments and bankers - not only in Ireland but globally. However, it's pointless to grouse over spilled milk.

    Ireland really is turning a corner. More people are becoming employed. But while growth (and job opportunities) are returning, the 'great economic revival' in Ireland will leave many, many behind. The country, I think, will be populated by many New Poor. And it is likely that they will remain voiceless, and will never benefit from any turn-around. And that is criminal.

    Thank you Anonymous, for offering a voice to the voiceless.


  5. Hello again, Tom! When I made the decision to move to Ireland I knew the economy was bad and the unemployment rate was pretty terrible (maybe I'm crazy?), but I'm also not jumping right into this. I've been reading books and researching the web and even talking with some very nice people on What I've gathered from each of these places is it is easier to start my own business than to find employment in Ireland as an American. (Even though I'll be job searching for at least 2 years before I make the big move.) Starting my own business is doable. I have enough office administrative experience and enough experience working as a manager of an independent bookstore to be able to employ myself as a Virtual Assistant. My question to you is this: If I did start up this VA business, since I would be self employed, would companies be able to hire me to complete their admin work or would they still be subject to the same types of taxes and fees they would have to pay if I was a new hire at their company?

    Thanks for taking the time to read my comments!

  6. To put it simply: starting your own business is probably the most effective method of gaining employment in Ireland. Certainly that's what I did and it worked. Mind you, it took years and years for it to pay off, and many bumps along the way, but for a number of years it was highly profitable.

    And to answer the other salient question: if you start your own business, your customers will not have to pay for an employment work permit.

    Ireland is employer / entrepreneurial friendly when compared with many other EU countries. If you choose to set up over here you'll have to do quite a bit of research. Initially, I suggest that you set up as a sole trader. (see You will have to register your business with the Revenue Commissioners and will be subject to all direct taxes that we all incur. Depending on your level of turnover, you will also have to register for (and charge out) VAT at 23% on every sale. You will then be obligated to pay the Revenue that VAT when you receive it from your client base.

    The other option is to set up a Limited Liability Company (the path I went down). This offers equity owners a bit more security, but requires directors to meet a variety of compliance requirements.

    Which ever way you go, Heather, the critical point is the one that you have already grasped: establishing your own company can provide a pathway to success. This option enables immigrants to bypass many of the hurdles that those seeking direct employment have to jump. And in my experience, it is also a highly fulfilling alternative. Keep on Trucking... Tom

  7. Thanks for all the help, Tom! :)