Ireland raised its gross domestic product (GDP) forecasts for the next four years on Tuesday, predicting growth of 5.6% this year and 4% next, driven by strong growth in employment which is set to pass its pre-crisis peak this year.
Ireland's economy has been the best performing in Europe since 2014 and the Finance Ministry, whose figures form the basis of the government's budget policies, previously predicted GDP growth of 3.5% for 2018 and 3.2% for 2019.
The sharp upgrade for this year surpasses the country's central bank which last week increased its GDP forecasts to 4.8%. It predicts growth of 4.2% in 2019.
Statistical distortions related to Ireland's multinational sector have called into questioned the relevance of using Irish GDP to properly measure activity in the economy. Many economists instead rely on the labor market as a more accurate barometer.
Unemployment is set to fall to 5.8% this year from a high of 16% in 2012, according to the updated figures, with the rate forecast to remain at 5.3% over the following two years as the economy reaches full employment. (Reuters)