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Recalling the Celtic Tiger

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Edited By Eamon Maher, Eugene O'Brien and Brian Lucey

This book looks at various effects, symptoms and consequences of the period in Irish culture known as the Celtic Tiger. It will trace the critical pathway from boom to bust – and up to the current beginnings of a similar, smaller boom – through events, personalities and products. The short entries offer a sense of the lived experience of this seismic period in contemporary Irish society.

While clearly not all aspects of the period could realistically be covered, the book does contain essential information about the central actors, events, themes, and economic trends, which are discussed in a readable and accessible manner. Each entry is linked to the overall Celtic Tiger phenomenon and its immediate aftermath.

The book also provides a comprehensive account of what happened in this period and will be a factual resource for anyone anxious to discover information on the areas most commonly connected to it. All entries are written by experts in the area. The contributors include broadcasters, economists, cultural theorists, sociologists, literary critics, journalists, politicians and writers, each of whom brings particular insights to some aspect of the Celtic Tiger.

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Unemployment (Constantin Gurdgiev)

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Constantin Gurdgiev

Unemployment

During the Celtic Tiger Era, unemployment presented Fianna Fáil, and its coalition partners, with an opportunity to flex their policy muscles, proving that no problem can resist the force of cash being thrown at it. During the era of organic growth (as opposed to property and construction bubble-fuelled growth), Irish unemployment reached its historic low of 3.6% in 2000. At the same time, the Irish labour force participation rate steadily rose from the mid-56% mark in the mid-1990s, to 59.6% in 2000, with gains in both male and female participation, based on the data from the National Households Survey reported by the CSO. Thereafter, spurred on by the tax incentives that favoured a two-working adults’ households, consistent rises in the cost of living, and the booming domestic economy (including the property bubble inflation and increases in public spending), the Irish labour force expanded into 2007, reaching the highest annual participation rate of 64.08%. In that year, the male participation rate peaked at 73.725% and female participation rose to 54.55%. Unemployment was slightly more elevated at 4.6%, but still below the full employment rate.

The collapse of the Celtic Tiger, starting with the 2008 Financial Crisis, reversed much of the gains achieved during the boom era. Irish unemployment peaked at 14.7% in 2012, when participation rates collapsed to 59.9%, erasing the gains made during the later stage of the Celtic Tiger. Male participation declined a whopping 6.125% on 2007 levels, while...

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