IRELAND - ECONOMY

The economy of Ireland is modern and trade-dependent with growth averaging a robust 10% in 1995–2000. Agriculture, once the most important sector, is now dwarfed by industry, which accounts for 46% of GDP, about 80% of exports, and employs 29% of the labour force. Although exports remain the primary engine for Ireland’s robust growth, the economy is also benefiting from a rise in consumer spending and recovery in both construction and business investment. The annual rate of inflation stands at 5.1% as of 2007, up from recent rates of between 3% and 4%. On the EU HICP inflation index, inflation is 2.7%, against an EU average of 1.8%. House price inflation has been a particular economic concern (average house price was €251,281 in February 2005). Unemployment is low but is rising and up to 30,000 jobs may be lost between 2007 and 2008 much of which is attributed to a slowdown in house building. Incomes have been rising rapidly as well as service charges - utilities, insurance, healthcare, legal representation, etc. Dublin ranked 16th in a worldwide cost of living survey in 2006 (up from 22nd in 2004 and 24th in 2003).

Ireland has the second highest per capita income of any country in the EU next to Luxembourg and fourth highest in the world based on measurements of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita. The Gross National Income is $41,140, the seventh highest in the world. The unusually large divergence between GDP and GNI is due to the repatriation of profits by multinational companies.