Dublin, March 14th, 2020 – The list of people who earn more than €100,000 per year is now out of reach.
The figure has been on a par with the €10.3 billion of GDP earned by the top 1 per cent of earners in the UK and the US over the last two decades, and €9.8 billion by the world-famous French elite.
The annual income of the richest 1 per of the top 100 is now €1.2 million, with the next 10 wealthiest earning a combined total of €2.2 billion.
In other words, the top 10 people in the world today earned €1 billion in just one year, while the bottom 10 got €2 billion each.
The figure is now almost triple the annual earnings of the Irish taxpayer, which is just €50,000.
It’s also the second-highest per capita income in the OECD, behind only China, and it is more than the GDP of the UK, the US, France and Germany.
The figures from the International Monetary Fund are particularly interesting.
Its report published last week said that Ireland has one of the highest unemployment rates in the eurozone, with 10 per cent or more of the workforce being unemployed.
It said the number of workers in the private sector is also at its highest level since records began.
At the same time, the unemployment rate for the young has soared to 20 per cent.
The report also said that while the country has one-fifth the population of Germany and the UK or China, its GDP is $17.2 trillion, which equates to just 1 per the top 50 richest people.
It is also the only European country with a net-negative trade balance.
Ireland is not the only one on the high end.
“Ireland is the second largest net exporter in the EU, behind Sweden,” said economist and head of the Institute of Macroeconomics, Niall Ferguson, who is also a member of the Government’s working group on growth and economic diversification.
“That’s why Ireland’s exports to the EU have grown in recent years, with exports rising almost 4 per cent per year on average since 2015.”
But the Government has yet to announce a policy for boosting exports.
Last week, the Irish Government unveiled plans to boost the economy by boosting investment in the sectors most affected by the financial crisis, with a focus on the energy sector.
According to the IMF, Ireland’s GDP is projected to grow by 5.5 per cent in 2020.
Despite the economic downturn, the Government is now looking to create more jobs, and its latest report has predicted that it could create 10.2m new jobs in 2020, bringing its overall employment level to 20.6 million.
However, Mr Ferguson says that a big factor is that a lot of the new jobs created in the past decade were in manufacturing and services.
He says the Government needs to do a lot more to attract more young people and people from rural areas to work in the sector.
“A lot of those people are probably not going to be able to find jobs at all,” he said.
One of the most important policies the Government can take is to make sure that people who are already in jobs are given the skills they need to stay in those jobs, said Mr Ferguson.
“The government has to put some resources into making sure that we are getting the skills that people need in terms of the skills, so that we have more of them coming in and having the kind of opportunities that they need.”
However the Government does not appear to be prioritising apprenticeships, despite having one of Europe’s highest rates of apprenticeships in the Eurozone.
In April 2020, the country had 2,945,800 people in training, the lowest figure in Europe, according to the OECD.
The figures have now increased by more than three million to 2,962,000, although the Government claims that this has been largely due to the recent reforms to apprenticeships.
There is also an issue with the training sector, with unemployment rates at record levels, and the Government seems to be doing little to address this, with only one of its 10 Ministers recently talking about tackling the problem.
“There is a lot that needs to be done on training, and there is a huge gap in skills between those that are doing well and those that have been left behind, so we need to put more emphasis on that,” said Mr Martin Doherty, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
However, the number one issue that the Government must address is the high level of student debt in Ireland.
The Government is spending €3 billion a year on education, and currently has only €1 million of the €6.3 million earmarked for it for the 2019-20 financial year.
To make matters worse, the cost of the education system in Ireland is already too high, with tuition fees