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    Ireland Economy 2000

      Economy - overview: Ireland is a small, modern, trade-dependent economy with growth averaging a robust 9% in 1995-99. Agriculture, once the most important sector, is now dwarfed by industry, which accounts for 39% of GDP and about 80% of exports and employs 28% of the labor force. Although exports remain the primary engine for Ireland's robust growth, the economy is also benefiting from a rise in consumer spending and recovery in both construction and business investment. Over the past decade, the Irish government has implemented a series of national economic programs designed to curb inflation, reduce government spending, and promote foreign investment. The unemployment rate has been halved; job creation remains a primary concern of government policy. Recent efforts have concentrated on improving workers' qualifications and the education system. Ireland joined in launching the euro currency system in January 1999 along with 10 other EU nations. The construction and other sectors are beginning to press against capacity, and growth is expected to drop in 2000, perhaps by 1 percentage point.

      GDP: purchasing power parity - $73.7 billion (1999 est.)

      GDP - real growth rate: 8.4% (1999 est.)

      GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $20,300 (1999 est.)

      GDP - composition by sector:
      agriculture: 5%
      industry: 39%
      services: 56% (1998)

      Population below poverty line: 10% (1997 est.)

      Household income or consumption by percentage share:
      lowest 10%: 2%
      highest 10%: 27.3% (1997)

      Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.2% (1999)

      Labor force: 1.77 million (1999 est.)

      Labor force - by occupation: services 63%, industry 28%, agriculture 9% (1999 est.)

      Unemployment rate: 5.5% (1999)

      Budget:
      revenues: $25.3 billion
      expenditures: $20.9 billion, including capital expenditures of $2 billion (1999)

      Industries: food products, brewing, textiles, clothing; chemicals, pharmaceuticals, machinery, transportation equipment, glass and crystal; software

      Industrial production growth rate: 10% (1999 est.)

      Electricity - production: 19.715 billion kWh (1998)

      Electricity - production by source:
      fossil fuel: 94.12%
      hydro: 4.63%
      nuclear: 0%
      other: 1.25% (1998)

      Electricity - consumption: 18.415 billion kWh (1998)

      Electricity - exports: 100 million kWh (1998)

      Electricity - imports: 180 million kWh (1998)

      Agriculture - products: turnips, barley, potatoes, sugar beets, wheat; beef, dairy products

      Exports: $66 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

      Exports - commodities: machinery and equipment, computers, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; live animals, animal products

      Exports - partners: EU 68% (UK 22%, Germany 15%, France 8%), US 15% (1998)

      Imports: $44 billion (c.i.f., 1999 est.)

      Imports - commodities: data processing equipment, other machinery and equipment, chemicals; petroleum and petroleum products, textiles, clothing

      Imports - partners: EU 54% (UK 31%, Germany 6%, France 5%), US 16%, Japan 7%, Singapore 4% (1998)

      Debt - external: $11 billion (1998)

      Economic aid - donor: ODA, $240 million (1999)

      Currency: 1 Irish pound = 100 pence

      Exchange rates: Irish pounds per US$1 - 0.9865 (January 2000), 0.9374 (1999), 0.7014 (1998), 0.6588 (1997), 0.6248 (1996), 0.6235 (1995)
      note: on 1 January 1999, the European Union introduced a common currency the euro, which is now being used at a fixed rate of 0.787564 Irish pounds per euro; the euro has replaced the pound in many financial and business transactions; it will replace the local currency in consenting countries for all transactions in 2002

      Fiscal year: calendar year

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