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Economic bounce-back to continue but shocks possible - European Commission

Published 05/11/2015

Last month saw an annual drop of 37,836 in the numbers claiming jobseeker benefits
Last month saw an annual drop of 37,836 in the numbers claiming jobseeker benefits

Ireland's economic bounce-back will continue but future "shocks" cannot be ruled out because of massive household, business and government debts, Brussels has predicted.

In its latest economic forecast, the European Commission said the Irish economy is outperforming all other countries and set for more strong growth over the coming years.

Unemployment is also expected to continue sliding until at least 2017.

"Following an estimated 6% growth in Ireland for 2015, the Commission predicts continued strong growth, albeit at the slower pace of 4.5% in 2016 and 3.5% in 2017," an EC spokeswoman said.

"This is in marked contrast to most other EU States, with only Romania coming close to predicted growth rates for Ireland."

Furthermore, it predicted a continuing drop in joblessness, down from 9.5% of the workforce this year to just less than 8% by 2017.

"Ireland differs from the other EU countries which experienced a severe economic crisis in recent years," the spokeswoman added.

"Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Portugal are forecast to have much higher unemployment than Ireland.

"Over the next two years, this trend is forecast to continue as Ireland is to have lower unemployment than an increasingly large number of other Member States."

Ireland's recovery appears to be "resilient" in the face of a weaker worldwide recovery, the EC said.

But it warned both private and public debts remain high, leaving the country vulnerable to "potential shocks" or interest rate increases.

Almost 321,000 people are now signing on the dole, latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show.

Last month saw an annual drop of 37,836 - or just over 10% - in the numbers claiming jobseeker benefits.

When the figures are adjusted to take into account seasonal factors, there were 332,200 people signing on.

Nearly four times as many men (3,500) than women (900) came off benefits between September and October.

On a yearly basis, men claiming jobseeker allowances dropped by almost 13% (28,105) compared to a 7% (9,731) decrease in woman claimants over the same period.

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