Our economy is in a strong position having recovered impressively from the financial crisis and the subsequent recession. At its nadir in early 2012, the unemployment rate was 16% and almost 50,000 Irish people emigrated that year. Eight years on, Ireland can be proud of the progress made. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is down to 5.7% at the end of 2018, almost 2.28 million people are at work and involuntary emigration has ended.
However, there is no room for complacency. Significant vulnerabilities are evident in the domestic economy such as declining productivity levels in small-to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Infrastructural constraints, skills deficits and labour availability, as well as concentrations in some sectors and markets could, unless ameliorated, impede further progress. Internationally, Brexit, growing trade protectionism and the undermining of the rules-based international trading system could threaten our future economic welfare.
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