DUBLIN: Ireland’s volatile gross domestic product (GDP) grew 1.4 percent in the three months to the end of June and was 5.8 percent greater than in the same quarter last year, data showed on Friday. Irish GDP data was called into question last year when 2015 growth figures were adjusted up to 26 percent after a massive revision to the stock of its capital assets. While not as dramatic, recent quarterly data has fluctuated sharply. The expansion in the second quarter followed a revised 3.5 percent contraction in the first three months of the year and a 5.8 percent jump in the final quarter of 2016. Economists prefer to use employment as a gauge of how the economy is faring. The number of people in work has been growing at the fastest pace since the financial crisis, pushing the unemployment rate down to 6.3 percent from 15.1 percent five years ago.
The state statistics office has begun to phase in a new measure – “Modified Gross National Income”, or “GNI*” – which strips out the effects of multinational firms re-domiciling, relocating or depreciating their capital assets. It will be fully phased in by the end of 2018 and has shown that at 189 billion euros, the economy is nearly one-third smaller than the size suggested by the GDP figures. A sub-index of that new series – modified total domestic demand – rose by 4.5 percent quarter-on-quarter compared to a 19.1 percent jump in the traditional indicator for domestic demand under GDP, the central statistics agency said. “We see positive trends across the economy, with few exceptions,” Michael Connolly, a senior statistician at the CSO, told a news conference.