Ireland is in the middle of a crisis that is pushing the country into the deepest recession since the Second World War, and many people are feeling left out of the recovery.
The Irish Times interviewed people across the country, finding that work is still an important part of people’s lives.
However, a new report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) finds that working is increasingly seen as a barrier to economic growth, and the only way to overcome that is to put a person in work.
It is the second report of its kind this year, and its author, Dr Joanna T. Coughlan, a senior fellow at the OECD’s Department of Economic and Business Affairs, says the trend in work has not gone away.
“In the United States, where we’ve seen the biggest slowdown in growth, a lot of the economic growth has been driven by the expansion of the economy,” she said.
“But in Ireland, we have seen very strong growth in the private sector, so people are still able to work and earn.”
Dr Coughlane, who was not involved in the report, says that, in her view, Ireland’s economic future is tied to the future of work.
“If you look at Ireland, it’s a country where you’re not really looking at the long term and looking at a long-term future, but the short-term is the only thing that matters,” she says.
The report, The Rising Jobless Rate in Ireland: Rising Unemployment, is based on interviews with people in Ireland and around the world.
The OECD says it looked at the economic situation in Ireland from mid-2013 to the end of the year.
It found that the unemployment rate was 7.9 per cent in the second quarter of this year.
“The jobless rate in Ireland in the first quarter of 2018 was just over 12 per cent, which is the highest since 2009,” Dr Coughlin says.
“But it was still below the OECD average of 20 per cent.”
The report notes that a large proportion of people in the Irish economy are currently in paid employment, and that unemployment levels have dropped significantly in recent years.
Dr Croughlan says that the economy in Ireland has been doing well, despite the problems caused by the global financial crisis, and she believes that is partly because the economy is in recovery.
“We’ve had a good recovery, so it is not that the jobs have not been there, but that the demand has been there,” she adds.
The recovery is taking time to pick up, she says, and Ireland needs to continue to do well if it is to continue growing in the future.
“When the recovery is going well and there is a lot more activity, the economy will continue to grow.
That’s a good thing.
We need to see the economy grow faster.”
The Irish economy is expected to grow at a slower pace this year than in 2017, the first time that has happened in more than a decade, with growth of 1.2 per cent for the year to June.
The economic recovery has taken some time to build, and with unemployment at a record high of nearly 16 per cent and the unemployment benefit scheme to be extended until 2020, there is still much work to be done.