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November 21, 2013



How useful, though, is the '15-29' bracket? I understand that that is what the statisticians are working with. But, I would suggest, that 15-20 years olds are emigrating in huge numbers. Indeed, you could probably state that 15-22 year olds are not emigrating in sufficient numbers to contribute to this statistical outcome. Why? Well, most of the 15-18 group would be in school, for a start. Half of 18-22 years would be in college/university, secondly. There is also the question of resources available to emigrate, which could take some time to accumulate for younger people. Therefore, I would suggest, that the huge drops in population, and the extent of that attributed to emigration, are probably concentrated in the 22-29 year old bracket. After all, what have people in that age group got to look forward to here, even if they have stunning degree results and post graduate degrees? Jobsbridge? There are precious few openings in the public sector, there is increasing casualisation across the economy and then we have the harshness of recent budget decisions to cut welfare to under 26s. I suspect that if a more narrow age band 22-29 were analysed, the statistics would be stark. Of course this raises very profound questions about the future of our society that any thinking politician should be considering. The is probably going to be a very sharp demographic drop in about 10-15 years time when these people, who probably won't be returned given we can expect another 20 years of austerity, start having their kids abroad. But, we can comfort ourselves with the knowledge that we are the envy of the world because Facebook, Google and Apple chose here to book their profits. Great analysis, Michael, keep up the good work!

eamonn moran

Nice post Michael and the numbers broadly tally with ones I had come up with myself using CSO data.

Some important questions. Could we have prevented size of the level of forced emigration?
Can we do anything now to slow down the speed of the forced emigration or do we have to just wait for other factors to improve?

If there was proper inter generational solidarity we could have. when severe financial crashes happen in countries who do not have control over interest rates and who cannot borrow for public expenditure employers are left with 2 choices. Cut wages or Cut employee numbers. Because Trade unions Private sector employers and the government chose the latter option where possible a whole generation has been locked out of the jobs market. This was done to ensure wage gains that were only able to occour due to the mirage of the property boom were to be protected rather than do the right thing and show some inter generational solidarity. Spending in the economy for people over 40 is the same now as 2007. the young have been asked to shoulder the full burden of this boom. If emloyers had opted for the option of lower wages the GDP contraction would have been much lower and the burden would have been shared by all the generations. Fewer parents would have had to wave goodbye to their kids if they had taken larger paycuts.
Its important to say that in more civilized societies in central and northern Europe, maintaining job numbers and access to jobs is more important to maintaining real wages. These countries don't have booms like we had but they don't have busts like us either.

Maurice Kenny

Good afternoon Michael.

Excellent article as is the norm.

Could you possibly give us your opinions on the recent vote at ICTU conference re the 'federalization' of the Unions on this island. In particular it would be useful to know your thoughts on the pros and cons. Also some analysis of the changes in the power structure that would take place and importantly the impact that such a change would have to collective bargaining.

Many Thanks


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