August brings us the annual Irish immigration data, so it’s time to look at what has happened in their statistical reporting “year” that ended in April 2014. While better than last year, it’s still not pretty.
According to the Central Statistics Office, net emigration continued in 2013-14, with net emigration of 21,400. a decline of just over 1/3 compared to net emigration of 33,100 in 2012-13. Of the new total, once again, the Irish themselves accounted for over 100% of the net departures, with 29,200 more Irish nationals leaving the country than returning.
This continued out-migration continues to diminish any published improvements in Irish employment numbers and unemployment rate. In the year to the second quarter of 2014 (the closest quarter to April 2014 immigration figures), employment increased to 1,901,600, a rise of 31,600 over a year previous. Unemployment fell by even more, 46,200, in the year to Q2 2014. So, while there is definite improvement even accounting for emigration, Ireland is nowhere near back to its peak 2007 employment figure of about 2.15 million. So employment is still 11.6% below its peak.
In Iceland (create a custom table here), by contrast, despite (but also in part because of of) the almost 50% decline in the value of the kronor, the sharp dip in unemployment has been almost completely erased, with July 2014’s value of 179,000 employed being a mere 1.7% below May 2008’s maximum of 182,100. Indeed, Iceland’s unemployment rate has fallen to a mere 4.4% in July 2014, compared with 6.2% in the United States — and 11.5% in Ireland.
So the lesson, if I have haven’t pounded it into your head enough already, is that Ireland’s austerity measures are not paying off, as it has failed to regain its pre-crisis employment level and has seen its unemployment rate fall only by reverting to its historical solution of exporting people, as in the 1980s.
Cross-posted from Middle Class Political Economist.