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Economist forecasts Irish unemployment rate in 2016 at 8.5%

Staff writer ▼ | December 5, 2015
Ireland's unemployment rate may fall further in 2016 to 8.5 percent, according to an Irish economist.
Irish unemployment
Jobs   Ireland is spending to further boost employment
Alan McQuaid, chief economist with the Merrion Stockbrokers, said with the Irish economy continuing to grow strongly, an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent is envisaged for 2015 as a whole, down from 11.3 percent in 2014.

"We see the unemployment rate falling further in 2016 to 8.5 percent," he said.

The economist said the government's spending plans on both the current and capital sides will help to further boost employment and reduce the number of people out of work.

There was an average increase in employment last year by 32,800. Employment prospects look good again in 2015 due to the strong economic recovery, with a net increase of 53,000 jobs forecast, according to McQuaid.

But he said labor supply has begun to increase in response to the improved economic situation, adding this is slowing down the decline in the jobless rate.

"Still, we expect the downward trend in unemployment to continue over the next few years," McQuaid said.

The latest monthly unemployment data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), released Tuesday, showed the unemployment rate for November was 8.9 percent, the same as in October but down from 10.4 percent in November last year.

Ireland's unemployment rate is better than the current eurozone average of 10.7 percent.