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This release has been compiled during the COVID-19 crisis. The results contained in this release reflect some of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 situation. For further information see our Information Note.

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Table 1.1 Seasonally Adjusted Gross Household Saving by Component€million
 Total Disposable Income (B.6g + D.8)Final Consumption Expenditure (P.3)Gross Savings Ratio
Q4 202133,94326,81721.0%
Q1 202233,84927,12419.9%

The household saving rate in the first quarter of 2022 was 19.9%. This was unusually high, almost twice the long term average rate. This elevated proportion of income not consumed has been a feature of the economy since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Although the amount saved is high, the saving rate is declining, and this is the first time it has been below 20% since the start of 2020, as Figure 1.1 shows.

Saving ratio
2019Q1 9.53%
2019Q2 9.45%
2019Q3 10.7%
2019Q4 13.1%
2020Q1 21.6%
2020Q2 33.5%
2020Q3 21.6%
2020Q4 26.3%
2021Q1 32.8%
2021Q2 22.9%
2021Q3 22.1%
2021Q4 21.0%
2022Q1 19.9%

After accounting for seasonal factors, disposable income of households was down slightly, in spite of rising wages and salaries (D1). The growth in pay to workers was spread across most sectors of the economy. The largest increases were in Public Administration, Education & Health and Professional, Administration & Support activities, as Figure 1.2 below shows. Distribution, Transport, Hotels & Restaurants which employs large numbers of people, also showed significant additions to the pay bill. Compensation of employees was supported by Government subsidies. These subsidies, which are paid to employers as the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and then to workers, made up €677m of the total compensation of employees in the quarter, down from €1,088m in the last quarter of 2021.

Higher take-home pay meant higher taxes (D.5) and PRSI (D.61) paid by households (see Table S1M, below). The tapering of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) is seen in the decline in social transfers to households (D.62). All of these factors combined to produce lower disposable income.

Consumer spending increased in the quarter (after seasonal adjustment). This increase was due to inflation rather than people consuming more goods and services: as the Quarterly National Accounts show, after adjusting for inflation ('constant price'), final consumption of households actually decreased. The Consumer Price Index shows prices were 5.8% higher in the quarter compared with the first quarter of 2021. The biggest changes were in Transport (+16.1%), Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas & Other Fuels (+14.0%), Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco (+7.7%) and Food and Non-alcoholic Beverages (+2.7%). As these living costs rose, people bought less in shops, as can be seen in the Retail Sales Index. Seasonally adjusted, the Index showed a decline in volume of purchases in the first quarter, even as the last COVID-19 restrictions were phased out. Sales of cars, and sales of household equipment declined most significantly, but there were increases in sales of clothes and shoes.

The saving was added to household wealth which is held in various kinds of assets. Investment in real assets (P.5) such as new homes was €2.0bn in the quarter, up significantly from €1.3bn in Q1-2021. A large proportion of the saving was left in banks: deposits from households increased by €2.0 billion in the quarter, a level similar to that before the pandemic. Short-term deposits such as current accounts were where most new saving went, with some decline seen in holdings of longer-term savings. Central Bank of Ireland data also shows some saving went to paying off debts: lending to Irish households decreased by €658m in the quarter (that is, repayments of principal exceeded new draw-downs).

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sectorChange (Seasonally Adjusted) since Q4-2021
Agriculture Forestry and Fishing-6.11406011736725
Industry (excl. Construction)140.412115308981
Distribution, Transport, Hotels and Restaurants173.133003874249
Information and Communication50.7388754365552
Financial and Insurance Activities16.6781732156164
Real Estate Activities10.2901447218411
Professional, Admin and Support Services188.796978231866
Public Admin, Education and Health223.881272240867
Arts, Entertainment and Other Services-0.397966495150285


The seasonally adjusted data series which includes Gross Disposable Income, Personal Consumption of Goods and Services and Gross Saving of the Household incl. NPISH sector is available on PxStat. Only the most significant transactions are shown in the table for each sector in this release. The entire unadjusted series for all variables published in this release are also available at the same link. See Background Notes for definitions of the terms used. 

Table S.1M Households and Non-Profits

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