Good news from the IDA front this January. Their End of Year Statement 2011 suggests we may have turned the corner in terms of net job gains in the IDA supported sector. Over 13,000 new jobs were created (up 20 per cent on 2010) and only 7,000 existing jobs were lost (down 27 per cent on 2010). As a result, employment in IDA supported companies expanded by over 6,000, the first (and substantial) yearly net job gain since 2007. This augurs well for the target of 62,000 new jobs in the period 2010-2014 as expressed in the IDA’s Horizon 2020 strategy. With over 22,000 new jobs in the pocket, about 13,000 new jobs for the final three years might just do the trick. Unfortunately, even these robust results are not going to make a serious dent into Ireland’s unemployment figures. An average net gain of 6,000 for the remaining 2012-2014 period of the strategy pales into insignificance in the light of the 435,000 people on the live register in December 2011.

Less positive, from the perspective of some of Ireland’s regions, is the regional distribution of the new investments. Newspaper reports for 2011 already suggested that a large part of the new IDA supported investments is concentrated in Dublin, Cork and Galway. This is now confirmed, with 72 per cent of investments located in the Greater Dublin Area and Cork alone (up from 63% in 2010). For a more detailed picture of all the regions we need to wait for the annual report. This does not compare well with the Horizon 2020 target of 50% of investments located outside Dublin and Cork. Foreign direct investment displays a growing preference for the largest urban centres of Ireland. This raises serious questions in relation to the effectiveness and practicality of the current National Spatial Strategy and the notion of balanced regional development.

Table 1:  Investment statistics IDA supported companies

 

2009

2010

2011

Total No. of jobs created

4615

9075

13068

Total No. of Jobs lost

18028

9545

6950

Net increase in jobs

-13413

-470

6118

Total No. of investments secured

125

126

148

% of investments locating outside Dublin & Cork

 n.d.

37

28

 

Source: IDA End of Year Statement 2011; selected IDA Annual Reports.

 

Chris van Egeraat

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