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News : Irish Economy Last Updated: Jul 5, 2013 - 12:13 PM


Irish Economy 2013: New jobs data missing inconvenient facts
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Jul 4, 2013 - 6:47 AM

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Richard Bruton, minister for jobs, enterprise and innovation, announced on Feb 18, 2013 that Facebook was to create more than 100 new roles at its international hq, to bring its employment to 500 jobs in Dublin. Pictured are Bruton (l) with Gareth Lambe, acting head of office for Facebook Ireland.

Irish Economy 2013: The new official jobs data we report on today covering 2012 jobs in the Irish and foreign-owned internationally tradeable sectors, are in a format that has remained unchanged since the 1990s but the missing inconvenient facts are crucial to credible policy making in an economy where 200,000 net new jobs are needed. 

While the existing stock of FDI (foreign direct investment) provides a stream of new investment, the data on inward investment is confusing and can include so-called 'trapped cash' that is technically outside the US.  

However, what is not confusing is that FD! ceased as a jobs engine years ago while the performance of the indigenous exporting sector has remained poor.

The inconvenient facts for the Government are that many of the recent public subsidised hires in foreign-owned firms are from overseas because of the range of language skills required while the rise in services jobs are not mainly the 'quality jobs' that ministers wax eloquent about but are in administration and sales.

The public truth that few knowledge economy jobs are being created in the leading foreign firms would hole the already listing science strategy below the waterline.

It's a crucial issue for the Government as it would undermine its flagship enterprise strategy.

Companies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook have regional centres in Dublin and it is assumed that the majority of their payrolls are from overseas.

When we asked IDA Ireland, the inward investment agency, if it had an estimate of the number of foreign hires in the new jobs announcements that its schedules for Richard Bruton, enterprise minister, it tartly responded: "We are not a statistics agency."

The main tech jobs in the FDI services sector in Ireland are in sales and customer support.

The claimed number of software jobs is simply exaggerated as the minority of jobs in software companies may relate to coding and development.

Less than 10% of Google Ireland's payroll is in engineering. More than two-thirds of the staff work on sales activities.

Both Microsoft and Facebook have not located strategic development centres in Ireland. Facebook chose London; Microsoft chose Israel, China and India.

From about 1,000 IDA Ireland client companies, less than 300 spend  more than €100,000 annually on R&D (research and development).

The rise in services has not been a 'move up the value chain' as the mantra claims but it's likely the local linkages are much stronger in manufacturing.

Coupled with a poorly performing indigenous sector, the economy lacks a credible jobs strategy at a time when a huge number of new jobs are needed.

Apple, taxes, Irish economy and creating 200,000 net jobs

Irish Economy: Innovation, a failed enterprise policy and inconvenient facts for 2013

Following the publication of the CSO's Quarterly National Household Survey for Q1 2013 [pdf], Minister Richard Bruton's latest spin is that the private sector economy has added 2,000 jobs each month over the past year.

Last month, the IMF said the broad rate of unemployment was 24% and we reported yesterday on the current jobs situation:

Irish Economy 2013: 499,300 on Live Register and in activation/back to work schemes in June

In the household survey, full-time employment fell by 3,700 in the year to March 2013; reweighting from the Census 2011 is being done from Q4 2012 and there was an apparent jump in total numbers of 20,500 in the year to March 31 2013.

However, while the CSO raised past total workforce figures, its latest data shows a dip in employment of 23,000 in Q1 2012, while despite the apparent jump in unemployment or maybe emigration, the Live Register fell by 9,000 in the same quarter.

The largest rates of increase in the year to March 2013 was recorded in the agriculture, forestry and fishing (+19.5% or 15,700). However, this is likely a statistical fluke.

The problem about part-time numbers is that a small farmer who worked in construction full-time is still classified as employed; as work for as low as 1 hour per week is part-time, a rise in self employment likely means that unemployed people are struggling to do something for themselves.

There are 76,000 in publicly-funded activation schemes.

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