Ibec upbeat about Irish growth

Ibec’s director of policy and public affairs Fergal O’Brien.


By Evan Short

Despite the uncertainty of Brexit, it’s predicted that 50,000 jobs will be created in Ireland in 2017.

Business group Ibec has published its economic outlook for the first three months of this year. The group also said that the labour force will grow by 2.7% and pointed to factors that “[bode] well for consumer spending.”

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The new jobs will come mainly from the service industry and industrial sectors, with a slight fall expected in the agriculture sector.

Ibec also forecasts Ireland's GDP will grow by 3.1% this year, and by 2.8% in 2018.

The report says that non construction employment is back to its highest levels since before the economic crisis in 2007. Last year saw the strongest employment growth in ten years according to Ibec’s Quarterly Economic Outlook.

However, the report warned of the economy slowing due to Brexit.

“Brexit effects are already evident in the export sector and are likely to intensify as negotiations get under way,” it said.

Ibec’s director of policy and public affairs Fergal O’Brien said: “We predict that an additional 50,000 jobs will be created again this year. This exceptional jobs surge, coupled with tax cuts, wage growth and limited inflation, bodes well for consumer spending. Investment growth will also be high, at 14.8%, due to the resurgence of the construction sector.”

But he warned: “The Irish government must take advantage of our economic growth and ensure decisive policy action to improve competitiveness and adopt measure to minimize losses from Brexit, particularly in the regions.

“Investment and liveability issues such as transport, housing and education must be prioritized before the window of exceptionally cheap money closes any further.”