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Economy & employment

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Table 5.1 Disposable income per person by county, 2010 and 2015
  %State=100
Region and countyDisposable income per personChange in disposable income per person 2010-2015Index of disposable income per person
2010201520102015
Border17,82217,641-1.091.186.8
Cavan18,69418,261-2.395.689.8
Donegal16,34515,705-3.983.677.2
Leitrim19,40718,285-5.899.289.9
Louth19,33318,946-2.098.893.2
Monaghan16,53817,5896.484.686.5
Sligo18,28019,0013.993.593.4
Midland17,72617,8460.790.687.8
Laois18,50417,935-3.194.688.2
Longford17,62117,8281.290.187.7
Offaly16,70717,2423.285.484.8
Westmeath18,03818,3091.592.290.0
West18,89118,174-3.896.689.4
Galway19,68218,991-3.5100.693.4
Mayo17,84917,390-2.691.385.5
Roscommon18,09416,582-8.492.581.5
Dublin21,41623,2988.8109.5114.6
Mid-East19,57820,4414.4100.1100.5
Kildare19,87020,9445.4101.6103.0
Meath20,30820,086-1.1103.898.8
Wicklow18,30820,14510.093.699.1
Mid-West19,66820,3533.5100.6100.1
Clare18,94918,082-4.696.988.9
Limerick19,84222,18711.8101.5109.1
North Tipperary20,38619,136-6.1104.294.1
South-East18,67919,5034.495.595.9
Carlow18,76819,3523.196.095.2
Kilkenny17,94819,2277.191.894.6
South Tipperary18,50919,3864.794.695.3
Waterford18,54520,1138.594.898.9
Wexford19,38119,335-0.299.195.1
South-West19,15419,7743.297.997.2
Cork19,76020,2972.7101.099.8
Kerry17,10417,9084.787.588.1
Total19,55820,3344.0100.0100.0
Source: CSO County incomes and regional GDP
  • Disposable income per person in the Dublin region, at €23,298 in 2015, was 14.6% above the national average of €20,334, while the Mid-East region was 0.5% above at €20,441.
  • All the other regions were equal to or below the national average. Disposable income per person in the Border region, at €17,641 in 2015, was 13.2% below the national average.
  • At county level in 2015 disposable income per person was lowest in Donegal at 77.2% of the national average (€15,705), followed by Roscommon (81.5%) and Offaly (84.8%).
  • Disposable income per person in Ireland rose by 4% between 2010 and 2015, from €19,558 to €20,334. The Dublin region showed the largest increase of 8.8% followed by the Mid-East and South-East which both rose by 4.4%.  
  • Disposable income per person declined by 3.8% in the West and by 1% in the Border between 2010 and 2015.
  • The largest rise in disposable income between 2010 and 2015 at county level was in Limerick at 11.8% followed by Wicklow at 10% while the largest fall was in Roscommon at 8.4%.
This map is © Ordnance Survey Ireland. All rights reserved. License number 01/05/001.
Table 5.2 Gross Value Added at basic prices by region, 2010 and 2015
  %State=100
RegionGross Value Added per personChange in Gross Value Added per person 2010-2015Index of Gross Value Added per person
2010201520102015
Border, Midland and Western21,75923,6068.565.045.0
Border19,61719,060-2.858.636.3
Midland19,04622,32017.256.942.5
West25,99229,67714.277.756.6
Southern and Eastern37,78263,17967.2112.9120.4
Dublin151,062::152.6:
Mid-East24,64336,09146.573.768.8
Dublin plus Mid-East 143,289::129.4:
Mid-West28,44238,10934.085.072.6
South-East22,61933,03946.167.663.0
South-West 139,648::118.5:
State33,45552,46156.8100.0100.0
Source: CSO County incomes and regional GDP
1Data for 2015 suppressed for reasons of confidentiality
  • Gross Value Added (GVA) at basic prices per person was €52,461 in 2015, an increase of 56.8% on the 2010 value of €33,455.
  • GVA differs from household income principally in that company profits are included in GVA whereas they are not included in household income. Company profits are substantial and may be remitted abroad and not distributed to households in a region, see Appendix 1 for more information.
  • GVA per person was €63,179 in the Southern and Eastern region in 2015 compared to €23,606 in the Border, Midland and Western region.
  • GVA per person increased by 67.2% between 2010 and 2015 in the Southern and Eastern region, compared to just 8.5% in the Border, Midland and Western region.
  • GVA in Dublin is exaggerated compared with the other regions due to the large number of people commuting to work into the county from adjoining counties.
Table 5.3 Gross Value Added by sector and region, 20151
RegionAgricultureIndustryServicesTotal GVA
€m%€m%€m%€m%
Border, Midland and Western72931.210,55110.518,37013.129,63512.2
Border33414.32,3342.37,2525.29,9154.1
Midland1637.02,0382.04,1713.06,3682.6
West2329.96,1806.16,9475.013,3535.5
Southern and Eastern1,61168.890,08289.5121,95586.9213,54287.8
Dublin 2632.7::74,59453.2::
Mid-East29312.57,8277.811,2548.019,3648.0
Dublin plus Mid-East 235615.2::85,84961.2::
Mid-West2109.06,3886.38,0145.714,6046.0
South-East49921.35,3025.310,8167.716,6086.8
South-West 254623.3::17,27712.3::
State2,340100.0100,633100.0140,325100.0243,178100.0
Source: CSO County incomes and regional GDP
1 Gross Value Added (GVA) at basic prices. Total GVA does not equal the sum of the three sectors shown due to the
effect of the Statistical Discrepancy, see Appendix 1.
2 Data suppressed for reasons of confidentiality
  • Total Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2015 was €243.2 billion. Services accounted for 58% of this (€140.3 billion) while Industry accounted for 41%, at €100.6 billion.
  • Most of the GVA (87.8%) generated in 2015 was in the Southern and Eastern region, with just 12.2% generated in the Border, Midland and Western region.
  • Over half (53.2%) of the GVA in Services was generated in the Dublin region while the South-West was responsible for 12.3%.
  • The Midland region was responsible for the smallest proportion of GVA in Services at just 3%.
Table 5.4 Annual % change in GDP per employed person at current market prices by region1
     %
RegionGDP per employed personAnnual % change in GDP per person
 201420152016201420152016
Border, Midland & Western62,20264,85367,7343.44.34.4
Border55,80155,32758,295-2.5-0.85.4
Midland52,62059,15462,6213.112.45.9
West74,94278,49481,0039.34.73.2
Southern & Eastern115,729156,916159,4476.335.61.6
Dublin152,648**7.3**
Mid-East70,31989,66990,9245.427.51.4
Mid-West83,109103,328104,3641.424.31.0
South-East70,59286,62388,718-9.222.72.4
South-West126,281**14.0**
Total102,302133,780136,7656.130.82.2
Source: CSO County Incomes and Regional GDP
1 The * symbol indicates that data is suppressed for reasons of confidentiality.
  • GDP per employed person rose from €102,302 in 2014 to €133,780 in 2015 at current market prices, a rise of 30.8%. (GDP in constant prices per employed person is not available by region.)
  • This unprecedented increase in GDP in 2015 was due to the globalisation activities of a very small number of companies. Modified GNI, (GNI*), a new indicator recommended by the Economic Statistics Review Group, is designed to exclude globalisation effects that are disproportionately impacting the measurement of the size of the Irish economy but it is not yet available on a regional basis. See Appendix 1 for more details.
  • The large annual % change in GDP per employed person in 2015 was concentrated in the Southern & Eastern region with an increase of 35.6% compared to a rise of just 4.3% in the Border, Midland & Western region.
  • In 2016 GDP per employed person rose by 2.2%, from €133,780 in 2015 to €136,765 in 2016.
  • GDP per employed person was €67,734 in 2016 in the Border, Midland & Western region, 42.5% of the Southern & Eastern region value of €159,447.
Table 5.5 Annual % change in GDP per person at current market prices by region1
     %
RegionGDP per personAnnual % change in GDP per person
 201420152016201420152016
Border, Midland & Western23,75625,43626,6753.17.14.9
Border19,95720,53821,885-1.82.96.6
Midland21,05024,05025,3826.314.35.5
West29,86531,97833,0335.77.13.3
Southern & Eastern49,05468,07870,9538.338.84.2
Dublin68,793**11.0**
Mid-East30,11538,89040,7079.629.14.7
Mid-West32,27641,06442,567-0.927.23.7
South-East28,03135,60137,423-4.327.05.1
South-West51,694**10.6**
Total42,20356,52958,9617.533.94.3
 Source: CSO County Incomes and Regional GDP
1 The * symbol indicates that data is suppressed for reasons of confidentiality.
  • GDP per person rose from €42,203 to €56,529 between 2014 and 2015, a rise of 33.9%, at current market prices. (GDP in constant prices per person is not available by region).
  • This unprecedented increase in GDP in 2015 was due to the globalisation activities of a very small number of companies. Modified GNI, (GNI*), a new indicator recommended by the Economic Statistics Review Group, is designed to exclude globalisation effects that are disproportionately impacting the measurement of the size of the Irish economy but it is not yet available on a regional basis. See Appendix 1 for more details.
  • The large annual % change in GDP per person in 2015 was concentrated in the Southern & Eastern region with an increase of 38.8% compared to a change of just 7.1% in the Border, Midland & Western region.
  • In 2016 GDP per person rose by 4.3%, from €56,529 in 2015 to €58,961 in 2016.
  • GDP per person was €26,675 in the Border, Midland & Western region in 2016, 37.6% of the Southern & Eastern region value of €70,953.
Table 5.6 Employment by broad economic sector and region, 20171
 000 persons% of row
RegionAgricultureIndustryServicesTotalAgricultureIndustryServicesTotal
Border22.337.7116.9176.912.621.366.1100.0
Midland9.924.982.4117.28.421.270.3100.0
West13.043.5137.7194.56.722.470.9100.0
Dublin ..79.8562.9649.6..12.386.7100.0
Mid-East11.461.1245.8319.23.619.277.2100.0
Mid-West15.445.9151.5214.17.221.671.2100.0
South-East17.041.0126.2184.49.222.368.5100.0
South-West 19.073.1232.9325.05.822.571.7100.0
State110.9406.91,656.22,180.95.118.776.2100.0
Source: CSO Labour Force Survey
1 .. Indicates that the observation is missing or falls under the limit of discretion/uncertainty.
  • The Services sector accounted for 76.2% of people employed in 2017 and 86.7% of all workers in Dublin.
  • The South-West (22.5%) and the West (22.4%) had the highest proportions of persons employed in Industry while Dublin, at 12.3%, had the lowest.
  • Nationally, 5.1% of workers were in Agriculture with the highest proportions in the Border (12.6%) and South-East (9.2%).
Table 5.7 Employment rate by sex and region, 2017
% persons aged 15-64
RegionMalesFemalesTotal
 201220172012201720122017
Border58.973.753.262.156.167.9
Midland57.465.545.453.451.459.4
West62.569.757.058.559.764.1
Dublin65.173.959.464.562.269.1
Mid-East65.973.856.761.861.367.7
Mid-West62.672.354.762.658.767.5
South-East61.869.952.361.357.065.6
South-West64.775.259.165.161.970.1
Total63.472.656.362.359.867.4
Source: CSO Labour Force Survey
  • The highest employment rate in 2017 was in the South-West at 70.1%, above the national average of 67.4%. The lowest rate of employment was in the Midland region at 59.4%.
  • The Border region had the largest increase in the rate of employment between 2012 and 2017, with a rise of 11.8 percentage points, while the West had the smallest increase of 4.4 percentage points.
  • The highest employment rate for both men and women in 2017 was in the South-West at 75.2% for men and 65.1% for women. The lowest employment rate in 2017 was in the Midland region for both men and women, at 65.5% for men and 53.4% for women.
  • Employment rates were higher for men than women in all regions in both 2012 and in 2017.
Table 5.8 Unemployment rate by sex and region, 2017
% persons aged 15-74
RegionMalesFemalesTotal
 201220172012201720122017
Border18.25.611.14.815.05.3
Midland23.811.319.68.522.110.1
West19.68.014.86.717.47.4
Dublin15.36.99.76.312.76.6
Mid-East18.27.713.87.316.27.5
Mid-West21.09.217.28.119.38.7
South-East19.58.214.04.217.16.4
South-West18.66.011.74.215.55.2
Total18.47.512.96.215.96.9
Source: CSO Labour Force Survey
  • The unemployment rate dropped in all regions between 2012 and 2017, with the largest drop of 12 percentage points in the Midland region.
  • The highest unemployment rate in 2017 was in the Midland region at 10.1% while the lowest rate of 5.2% was in the South-West.
  • Unemployment rates were higher for men than for women in all regions in both 2012 and in 2017.
Table 5.9 Long term unemployment rate by region, 2012 & 2017
     % of persons aged 15-74
Region20122017
 MaleFemaleTotalMaleFemaleTotal
Border12.26.79.82.62.22.4
Midland16.311.214.26.05.45.7
West12.66.89.94.82.73.8
Dublin10.34.57.63.42.12.8
Mid-East11.06.69.04.52.43.6
Mid-West13.98.211.43.84.24.0
South-East13.46.610.44.81.53.3
South-West12.26.29.52.31.31.9
Total12.16.49.53.82.43.2
Source: CSO Labour Force Survey
  • The long-term unemployment rate in 2012 at 9.5% was about three times higher than the rate in 2017 of 3.2%.
  • The highest rate was in the Midland region in 2017 at 5.7% compared to just 1.9% in the South-West.
  • The highest rates of long-term unemployment for men and for women were in the Midland region in both 2012 and 2017.
  • Men had higher rates of long-term unemployment than women in all regions in 2012 and 2017 with the exception of the Mid-West in 2017.
Table 5.10 Travel by Irish residents by region, 2017
 '000 '000  '000 '000 
RegionDomestic International
Trips Nights per tripTripsNights per trip Trips Nights per tripTripsNights per trip
20122017 20122017
Border7792.58672.45069.98226.7
Midland4202.64612.33177.23618.0
West9452.59522.34878.05406.5
Dublin2,4163.12,7503.12,6187.63,2106.9
Mid-East9563.01,1803.07927.71,0046.7
Mid-West7643.38122.34387.55388.1
South-East8042.71,0222.55918.47127.7
South-West1,2082.81,5812.38738.79837.3
Total8,2912.99,6262.7 6,6238.08,1717.1
CSO Household Travel Survey
  • There were 9.626 million domestic trips taken by Irish residents in 2017, an increase of 16.1% on 2012.  The number of trips taken by residents of the South-West rose by 30.9%, while there were also large increases in the South-East (27.1%) and the Mid-East (23.4%).
  • The number of nights per domestic trip in 2017 was highest for people from Dublin at 3.1 and lowest for the Midland, West, Mid-West and South-West regions at 2.3.
  • The total number of international trips by Irish residents was 8,171 million in 2017, an increase of 23.4% on 2012.
  • The number of trips taken by Border residents had very sharp growth at 62.5% between 2012 and 2017, while the number taken by residents of the South-West grew by just 12.6%.
  • The number of nights per international trip fell from 8 in 2012 to 7.1 in 2017 for Irish residents.
  • People living in the West had an average of 6.5 nights per international trip in 2017 compared to 8.1 for Mid-West residents.
Table 5.11 Means of travel to work by region, 20161
        % of row
Means of travelOn footCycleBus or trainMotor cycleCar driverCar passengerLorry or vanWork mainly from homeAll means of travel
Border6.70.61.30.163.85.111.510.8100.0
Midland7.01.13.00.263.94.79.510.6100.0
West7.51.72.60.264.24.19.210.5100.0
Dublin12.06.720.70.745.52.83.38.3100.0
Mid-East6.51.28.30.463.94.17.67.9100.0
Mid-West8.01.11.80.265.34.57.911.1100.0
South-East8.01.11.50.264.64.98.611.1100.0
South-West8.61.43.60.363.84.27.810.3100.0
Total8.92.98.90.458.53.97.09.6100.0
Source: CSO Census of Population
1Persons at work aged 15 years and over, usually resident in each regional authority, and present in their usual residence on Census night.
  • More than half (58.5%) of people travelled to work by driving a car in 2016.
  • More than 63% of people in all regions, with the exception of Dublin, drove to work while just 45.5% of Dublin workers commuted by car.
  • About one in ten (8.9%) workers commuted to work by walking, with the same proportion using the bus/train.
  • People in Dublin were the most likely to walk to work, at 12%, while the rate for walking in the Mid-East was just 6.5%.
  • The highest proportion of workers using the bus or train was in Dublin at 20.7%, compared to less than 2% of workers in the Border, Mid-West or South-East.
On footCycleBus or train
Border6.678530723240890.589203708517461.30637926322876
Midland7.022883254821011.120344395631543.04080876515111
West7.539426660400661.661220341205912.58964578847856
Dublin11.97800297904036.6988509415895320.705826417704
Mid-East6.53655124169291.187827911857298.33578174186779
Mid-West8.038053366485081.143948650364691.79809092897808
South-East7.953804430630471.108571776822991.50592680622848
South-West8.565612112250651.397351759128513.57291772513376
33.4%
Percentage in the Border region with a commute to work of less than 15 minutes
Table 5.12 Time taken to travel to work by region, 20161
      % of row
RegionMinutesNot
 < 1515-2930-4445-5960-8990 & overStated
Border33.428.915.54.75.13.49.0
Midland29.226.415.25.59.06.08.7
West27.929.519.46.36.22.68.2
Dublin13.730.026.610.18.61.79.3
Mid-East20.824.320.09.913.94.46.8
Mid-West28.831.019.25.54.92.48.2
South-East31.230.915.44.95.93.97.7
South-West25.732.421.26.25.11.87.6
Total22.929.321.17.67.82.88.3
Source: CSO Census of Population
1 Persons at work aged 15 years and over (excluding those who work mainly at or from home) usually resident in each region and present in their usual residence on Census night.
  • More than half (52.2%) of all workers took less than 30 minutes to travel to work in 2016.
  • Workers in Dublin and the Mid-East were less likely to have a short commute, with 43.7% of Dublin workers and 45.1% of workers in the Mid-East taking less than 30 minutes to travel to work.
  • In contrast, more than 60% of workers from the Border and the South-East had a commute of less than 30 minutes.
  • Just over one in ten workers had a commute of one hour or more with Mid-East and Midland workers most likely to have long travel times to work.
  • Just over 18% of workers from the Mid-East and 15% of Midland workers had a long commute of one hour or more compared to just 7.3% of workers from the Mid-West.
Table 5.13 Time leaving home to go to work by region, 20161
% of row
Departure timeBefore 06:30am06:31 - 07:3007:31 - 08:3008:31 - 09:30After 09:30Not stated
Border8.017.833.224.210.86.1
Midland11.820.730.821.09.66.1
West7.520.832.222.111.85.7
Dublin8.024.334.715.910.17.0
Mid-East12.226.730.916.29.44.5
Mid-West7.922.134.320.39.75.7
South-East9.920.434.620.29.65.2
South-West7.723.834.918.69.75.3
Total8.923.033.618.610.15.9
Source: CSO Census of Population
1 Persons at work aged 15 years and over (excluding those who work mainly at or from home) usually resident in each region and present in their usual residence on Census night.
  • Commuters from the Mid-East, Midland and Dublin were more likely to leave for work by 7.30am.
  • About 39% of Mid-East workers and about 32% of Midland and Dublin workers started their journey to work by 7.30am compared to 25.8% of commuters in the Border region.
  • Workers in the Border and West region were more likely to leave for work after 8.30am than workers in other regions. About a third of commuters from the Border (35%) and West (33.9%) region started their journey after 8.30am compared to 25.6% of workers in the Mid-East.
Table 5.14 Drivers with current penalty points by licensing authority, 2017
     number%
Region and countyLicence holders with penalty pointsTotal licence holdersProportion of total licence holders who have penalty points
1-34-67+Total
Border29,4447,1651,06937,678253,13314.9
Cavan6,1211,6812618,06347,77916.9
Donegal10,1562,40332612,88599,78712.9
Leitrim2,520512853,11721,79614.3
Monaghan5,4551,3672117,03340,69817.3
Sligo5,1921,2021866,58043,07315.3
Midland24,4417,2681,35733,066177,90318.6
Laois7,0812,1114079,59947,61420.2
Longford3,4941,0002084,70225,13918.7
Offaly6,4031,9583248,68548,71817.8
Westmeath7,4632,19941810,08056,43217.9
West40,93611,0111,93053,877290,89518.5
Galway24,3007,3821,31432,996160,58620.5
Mayo10,5692,12834713,04487,30414.9
Roscommon6,0671,5012697,83743,00518.2
Dublin86,96325,9724,484117,419713,10216.5
Mid-East57,31315,3882,52375,224419,42617.9
Kildare20,7555,84092827,523134,86920.4
Louth7,6582,14328610,08773,95813.6
Meath16,3634,15765321,173119,96117.6
Wicklow12,5373,24865616,44190,63818.1
Mid-West45,50913,5792,15261,240305,90020.0
Clare11,8923,54263816,07279,42420.2
Limerick17,8415,64085724,338120,58020.2
Tipperary15,7764,39765720,830105,89619.7
South-East40,72911,1521,98553,866270,96019.9
Carlow5,4491,4672497,16538,67818.5
Kilkenny9,4802,55236612,39860,79520.4
Waterford10,2662,63239913,29773,73518.0
Wexford15,5344,50197121,00697,75221.5
South-West56,22015,5752,42274,217434,84317.1
Cork43,98712,5772,03058,594337,20817.4
Kerry12,2332,99839215,62397,63516.0
Total381,555107,11017,922506,5872,866,16217.7
Source: Road Safety Authority
  • Just over one in six (17.7%) Irish drivers had penalty points in December 2017.
  • In the Mid-West region 20% of drivers had penalty points compared to 14.9% in the Border region.
  • The counties with the highest proportions of drivers with penalty points were Wexford (21.5%), Galway (20.5%), Kildare (20.4%) and Kilkenny (20.4%).
  • The lowest rates of penalty points were in Donegal at 12.9% followed by Louth at 13.6% and Leitrim at 14.3%.
Table 5.15 Persons aged 15-24 neither in employment nor in education and training (NEET rate) by region, 2012 and 2017
  %
Region20122017
 MaleFemaleTotalMaleFemaleTotal
Border27.517.522.712.113.812.9
Midland27.028.727.918.117.417.8
West19.39.114.37.48.68.0
Dublin18.912.215.610.08.99.4
Mid-East23.018.120.511.612.812.2
Mid-West21.319.920.79.78.49.0
South-East21.615.818.714.48.511.5
South-West17.615.216.411.910.611.2
Total21.115.718.411.310.510.9
Source: CSO Labour Force Survey
  • The proportion of young people aged 15-24 neither in employment nor in education and training (NEET rate) fell sharply from 18.4% in 2012 to 10.9% in 2017.
  • The overall NEET rate was higher for males than for females in both 2012 and 2017.
  • The West region had the lowest NEET rate at 8% in 2017 while the Midland rate was more than double this, at 17.8%
  • The Midland region had the highest NEET rate for both young men and women in 2017.
Table 5.16 Road Freight activity by region, 2017
tonnes carried (thousands)
Region of originRegion of destination
BorderMidlandWestDublinMid-EastMid-WestSouth-EastSouth-WestTotal
Border10,1536585432,1871,40816041422615,749
Midland8373,8975841,0746684085373718,376
West5894306,8196462664202561649,590
Dublin2,2281,3681,11219,9118,4021,1541,6061,88737,668
Mid-East1,9836942414,3637,57731284935016,369
Mid-West10637951178931510,4959132,23615,744
South-East2085451989291,2137789,1921,06514,128
South-West882021538722701,8761,45216,97621,889
Total16,1928,17310,16130,77120,11915,60315,21923,275139,513
Source: CSO Road Freight Survey
  • There were 139.5 million tonnes of road freight carried within Ireland in 2017.
  • More than a quarter (27.0%) of all goods carried in Ireland originated in Dublin in 2017. The South-West was the origin of 15.7% of all road freight while 11.7% was sent from the Mid-East.
  • Dublin was the destination for 22.1% of all road freight while 16.7% was sent to the South-West.
  • Road freight carried within the Dublin region accounted for one in seven (14.3%) tonnes of goods.
  • The Midlands was the origin and destination of just 2.8% of all goods carried in 2017.

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