Thursday, January 31 08:05:50
The Central Statistics Office has significantly underestimated the premium public sector workers earn over their private sector counterparts, an ESRI paper has stated.
In an unusual development, the ESRI paper criticises the manner in which the State's statisticians have measured the premium.
Last October, the CSO found that, when adjusted for a host of factors - such as education levels and experience - public employees earned between 6-19 per cent more than their counterparts in the private sector in 2010.
In the paper published in the ESRI's quarterly commentary yesterday, Elish Kelly and Seamus McGuinness of the ESRI and Philip O'Connell of UCD's Geary Institute write: "As labour market researchers, we take a different view to the CSO on this issue."
They find that average public sector worker pay was almost 17 per cent higher than in the private sector when relevant factors were taken into account. The main reason for disagreement is the manner in which the CSO accounts for organisation size.
Larger organisations tend to pay more. The CSO categorises all public sector workers as employees of a large organisation.
Today's paper disputes this on the basis that many public sector workers, such as teachers and gardai in rural settings, have working environments more akin to small businesses, which pay less than big companies.
A year ago the European Central Bank attempted to compare public and private sector wages in a number of euro area countries. It found that in most northern European countries, public pay was lower than in the private sector, but in southern Europe and Ireland the opposite was the case. The Irish Times
The number of people claiming unemployment benefits fell for a seventh successive month in January, according to the latest Live Register figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
The seasonally adjusted register, which includes casual and part-time workers, was 430,100 in January, down 900 on the previous month's total.
The standardised rate of unemployment, however, remained unchanged at 14.6 per cent. The CSO's quarterly household survey for the third quarter of 2012 put the rate of unemployment at 14.8 per cent.
The number of people claiming benefits has now fallen by 9,900 in the past 12 months. A breakdown of the figures showed there were 273,627 men and 155,769 women signing on at the end of January.
The number of male claimants has decreased by 10,266 (3.6 per cent) since January last year, while the number of female claimants has increased slightly by 73 to 155,769.
The figures showed the number of people aged under 25 on the register had decreased by 6,981 (9.3 per cent) in the past 12 months. The Irish Times
Life and pensions providers are facing mergers, exits and a radical scaling back of their operations, a leading Central Bank regulator will tell a conference today.
Life companies will also be told to alter the way they pay commissions to advisers to stamp out the churning of policies. This is where consumers are moved from one provider or policy to another in a bid to generate new commissions.
Some life companies are tackling "commission competition" but more firms will need to change their business models, head of life insurance regulation at the Central Bank, Mark Burke, will tell the conference.
The sector needs a shake-up because firms still have the same cost base now as existed during the boom, he will tell the delegates at a life and pensions industry conference, organised by Eunan O'Carroll of Core Consulting.
This was despite a 60pc to 70pc fall-off in new business being written since the market peaked four to five years ago.
This means the three main players now control 70pc of the market. Mr Burke does not name these companies but they are understood to be Irish Life, New Ireland and Zurich. The Irish Independent
Demand for mortgages increased during the last three months of 2012 and loans were easier to get, the latest survey from the Central Bank shows.
The results are in line with other signs of increased activity in the housing market.
Banks reported that they had also eased standards for consumer credit and other loans to households, but demand for such loans was unchanged in the final quarter.
The survey showed there was no change in the criteria or demand for business loans. A fall in demand in the second quarter was followed by an increase in the following three months, which was maintained in the final quarter.
It also showed that the biggest increase in applications was to finance stock and for working capital. Demand has remained steady since, and the banks expect this to continue in the current three months.
Separate analysis by the Central Bank's own economists, published this week, showed Irish small and medium-sized enterprises had more loan applications rejected than SMEs in Italy and Spain, though the figures were on a par with Portugal. The Irish Independent