Unemployment in Ireland Has Increased from 4.5% (2007) to 14% (2011) with a Return of Large-Scale Emigration Last Seen in the 1980s

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From the horror of the last big recession in Ireland in the 1980s, Irish people have often tried to escape the tough times by crossing over the Atlantic to a better life in the US. With the recession and an unemployment rate of almost 10 per cent, the recent figures of those emigrating is outstanding. In 2010, we saw over 65,300 people leaving the country, the same number of those who left in 2009. This shocking figure is just below the number of emigrants in 1989, when unemployment in Ireland was at almost 18%. Ireland has moved from having the second lowest unemployment rate in the EU in 2007, to the second highest currently. Unemployment has risen faster in Ireland than in any other developed country, reflecting the sudden collapse of our building boom. In May 2009, the number of people claiming unemployment was at 11.7% which was a dramatic 85 per cent increase than the previous year. The EU during this time shows the average unemployment rate to be 9.5% in May 2009, increased from 7.4% the previous year. As a once booming economy, it is now contracting faster than any other in the developed world. The number of people claiming unemployment and unsecured workers such as part-time staff has almost doubled in the past year, increasing by a huge 96%. This jump has happened as the Irish Labour market has been hit hard by the collapse of the property and construction industries, the global financial crisis and unfavorable exchange rates from sterling to euro. It was said that the Irish GDP would fall by 8.3% in 2009 and 1.1% the following year as Ireland experienced the biggest economic contraction since the 1930s. As a result of this, an expected €1.3bn would be lost by the Irish government in tax revenue alone. Alan Barrett of ERSI said that thanks to years of huge growth in the Celtic Tiger in the 1990s, Ireland’s average economic growth for the last decade will be just 4%. Barrett has warned that high unemployment could continue into any recovery as in the...
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