Recent economic data tells a very grim story

Data published by the CSO in the last few days presents a very grim picture of the state of the country.

It shows that GNP (the relevant measurement of the state of the economy in Ireland) declined in 2011 by 2.5% – Government ministers had been claiming over the last several months that the economy had returned to growth.

The retail sales index published today suggests the contraction in the economy is now continuing – the CSO figures show that in February there was a contraction of 0.1%, as compared with January of this year. The contraction in retail sales was 1.8% in the year to the end of February.

Residential property prices fell by 17.8% in the year to the end of February and the fall over the previous month was 2.2%.

The Quarterly Household Survey for the fourth quarter of 2011 showed:

While there had been an increase in the total number of people employed, unemployment increased by 2,000, bringing the total number of people unemployed to 302,000.

And the Survey on Income and Living conditions (SILC) published yesterday showed:

There was an increase in income inequality in 2010 as shown by the income quintile share ratio and the Gini coefficient. The quintile share ratio indicated that the average income of those in the highest income quintile was 5.5 times that of those in the lowest income quintile. This ratio was 4.3 one year earlier thus signifying greater inequality in the income distribution in 2010. The Gini coefficient showed a similar pattern increasing from 29.3% in 2009 to 33.9% in 2010. A Gini coefficient of 0% corresponds to perfect equality while higher Gini coefficients indicate a more unequal distribution. The Gini coefficient and the quintile share ratio indicate that the income distribution has become more unequal between 2009 and 2010 and reverse the downward trend evident since 2005.

Those in the lowest income decile experienced a decrease in equivalised disposable income of more than 26% while those in the highest income decile experienced an increase in income of more than 8%. (Pages 10 and 11) {jathumbnailoff}

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