Stephen King's traditional plots involved mundane occurrences of banal middle-class lives punctuated by the extraordinary events that completely reshape the world around the protagonists: a family fight in the foreground broken apart by zombies invading the entire town in the bay windows of the family room behind warring spouses.
The last two days in statistical releases from Ireland have a similarly absurd quality, juxtaposing dynamic foreground (QNA's assertion that Ireland is 'out of the recession') with a macabre background (Live Register data for June) that, one intuitively knows, will inevitably come to dominate the entire plot.
Today's data on Building and Construction sectors output for Q1 neatly fits the 'invading zombies' framework: per CSO's release today, Q1 2010 output for the sector has fallen 34.1% yoy, while the value of production decreased 34.8% in the same period.
Clearly, yesterday's turn of the corner greeted us with a blank wall, as far as the road to real recovery goes.
Per CSO: "The fall in the volume of output largely reflects declines of over 48% and over 32% respectively in residential building work and non-residential building work. Output in civil engineering fell by over 18%".
Over the same period of time, output in the building and construction sector fell by just 7.8% in the EU27 and 9.9% in the Euro area. Sweden (+3.4%), Finland (+1.6%) and the UK (+1.2%) posted increases. The largest decreases were in Latvia (-43.4%), Lithuania (-42.9%) followed by Ireland. which means that we managed to beat off Spain for the dubious prize of being the worst performing advanced economy in the world when it comes to construction sector bust.
Makes you wonder - what the Live Register look like when the 110,000 odd workers remaining in the sector finally finish work on the few remaining sites still left from the boom?