Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Economics 22/09/2009: Emigration raging

Per CSO release today, Ireland is now back in the age of net outward migration, or in that ugly 1980s term – emigration. “The number of emigrants from the State in the year to April 2009 is estimated to have increased by over 40% from 45,300 to 65,100, while the number of immigrants continued to decline over the same period, from 83,800 to 57,300. These combined changes have resulted in a return to net outward migration for Ireland (-7,800) for the first time since 1995.”

But, per one net positive outcome of recession, “the number of births reached a new high of 74,500 (not seen since 1896) while the number of deaths was 29,400, resulting in strong natural growth for the year to April 2009 of 45,100.” Of course, as unemployment and higher taxes take a bite out of workforce participation rate and employment (see below) – with women withdrawing into maternity leave as a temporary cover against possible lay offs and as a result of falling returns to second income earners in the family – we are on a path of more children to be borne in Q32009-Q2 2010, after which the rate should start falling slightly.

“The combined effect of the natural increase and migration resulted in a population increase of 37,300 (+0.8%) bringing the population estimate to 4.46 million in April 2009.

“Of the 65,100 people who emigrated in the year to April 2009, EU12 nationals [Eastern Europe] were by far the largest group accounting for 30,100, with Irish nationals being the second largest at 18,400.” Now, CSO won’t tell us the comparative quality of those emigrants, but standard theory and logic suggest that there is a strong selection bias amongst those who leave the country. The emigrants are most likely those who can obtain better employment abroad and/or who can earn higher wages working abroad than the Irish social welfare entitlements provide. In other words, we are losing higher quality people than those who stay behind and sign onto the Live Register in similar circumstances (e.g unemployment spell within family).
Another interesting feature of data is shown in the Table below. Note that only two categories of migrants were either increasing or steady between 2008 and April 2009. Irish nationals returning from abroad (most likely having lost their jobs elsewhere) and EU15 nationals (steady inflow into MNCs employment).
Per US and Rest of World figures - undoubtedly idiotic migration and naturalization restrictions that operate in this country and are actually being tightened by our authorities this year (Green Card regime tightening) are not helping...
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