ESRI: Construction activity powering strong growth; jobless numbers to fall to 5.6%

The ESRI has said it expects the unemployment rate to fall to 5.6% by the end of 2018.

If that happens, it would be at a faster rate than previously forecast. However, the research body also warned that if the rate fell below 5.5%, that would be a strong indication of an over-heating economy.

Despite the shadow of Brexit, we are recording continued growth here, with the ESRI predicting 3.8% for this year and 3.6% for 2018.

The report's author, ESRI research professor Dr Kieran McQuinn, said unemployment was also continuing to fall.

Employment growth is particularly strong in the construction sector.

"There is domestic investment and strong growth in consumption," he said. "More and more of the growth seems to be coming back to the construction activity."

He said a pick-up in that sector over the last year or so seemed to be influencing a lot of other economic activity.

The ESRI warned that the external environment remained "highly uncertain" for this year and next, as the impact as of Brexit and US trade policies became clearer, but that the outlook for exports was expected to remain positive.

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