Business group Limerick Chamber publishes its regional economic update showing the end of 2022 with unemployment reaching 4.4 per cent. Sean Golden, Director of Policy Limerick Chamber, Miriam O’Callaghan Limerick Chamber President, Dee Ryan Limerick Chamber CEO. Photo: Shauna Kennedy, Morning Star Photography
Business representative group Limerick Chamber has released its Mid-West Economic Insights (MWEI) for Spring 2023
The report compiled by in-house policy team at the largest business body in the Mid-West, provides an update on changes in key economic indicators across the Mid-West, including housing, employment, education, transport and logistics. Produced twice a year, it provides an independent view of the status of the economy of the Mid-West.
The report is the only economic update of it’s kind produced that provides a holistic update for all three counties of the Mid-West.
Key results included in the report showed the total employment across Mid-West reached c. 240,000 at the end of 2022 with unemployment reaching 4.4 per cent. There was a c. 81 per cent increase in the number of work permits issued in 2022 compared to 2021, for the entire Mid-West.
In property, the report shows residential property prices increased by 6.7 per cent year-on-year across the Mid-West. With average Limerick house prices across the county continuing to increase reaching c. € 301,000. Limerick home completion for 2022 at 787 vs estimated demand of 2,400 per year.
Only 43 per cent of home transactions in the Limerick housing market in 2022 were owner-occupiers, and almost one-fifth of the commercial properties in the city centre are vacant.
In travel, passenger numbers are Shannon airport were up 21 per cent in January 2023 compared to January 2019. Shannon Foynes Port remains the largest dry bulk port in Ireland, transporting c. 8.4 million tonnes in 2022.
At the launch the CEO of Limerick Chamber, Dee Ryan, said “The Mid-West Economic Insights is an extremely important document for Business community members and wider stakeholders that are interested in the regional economy. While our name is Limerick Chamber, we very much represent a diverse range of businesses across the entire Mid-West.
“This important report compiled by our policy team, gives us an evidence base for our lobbying efforts on behalf of members. This edition of the Mid-West Economic Insights includes an update on the Limerick Chamber Strategic Development Pipeline, the online tracker for more than €6 billion of capital investment across 39 projects underway in Limerick, Clare and Tipperary.
“The purpose of the pipeline is to provide updates to stakeholders across the Mid-West on this welcome capital investment and to measure progress of public projects against deadlines. The Spring 2023 update shows that there has been good progress to date across most projects, however some key projects are currently delayed due to judicial review proceedings and delays at An Bord Pleanála.”
Commenting on the rich data, author of the report, Chief Economist and Director of Policy for Limerick Chamber, Seán Golden said “There is a lot of positivity to be taken from this edition of the MWEI, employment is in a good place, 2023 is looking like it could be a great year for Shannon Airport, Shannon Foynes Port continues to be one of the largest ports in Ireland, education enrollments and graduation figures are increasing across the region. However, housing remains one of the largest stumbling blocks. The provision of affordable housing is a key consideration for our members especially in a tight labour market when it is more difficult to attract and retain staff. There are three main items we look at when examining supply, planning permission, commencement and completions.
“Limerick saw a significant increase in the number of homes granted planning permission in 2022 versus 2021 – a 71 per cent increase to 1,808 homes. It is important to note that there is no guarantee that the homes granted planning will ever be built, but it serves as an indication as to what could be built if activated.
“Limerick has seen an increase in the number of commencements each year since 2019, growing from 499 to 848 – this is most welcome. From 2021 to 2022 Limerick increased the number of homes commenced by 93. While commencements at a national level are showing signs of slowing, this is not the case for Limerick, with the 12-month running total of commencements on an upward trend.
“All in all, the Mid-West did increase the number of homes built across the region in 2022, but economic indicators show that there is a slowdown in Clare and Tipperary but not in Limerick, however, the number of homes needed in Limerick per annum is likely to exceed 2,400 currently we are building almost 800 – which represents a significant gap. Furthermore, the amount of homes on the market actually going to owner occupiers is very worrying, with just 43% of transactions for new homes in Limerick being owner occupiers and 57% in Clare.”
Network Manager of Limerick Chamber Skillnet, and sponsor of the report Michael MacCurtain said “2022 was a tremendous year for jobs announcements across the Mid-West, with companies ramping up to full throttle as the year progressed. In Limerick Chamber Skillnet we saw a sustained demand from companies for the funding we provide to help reskill and up-skill teams. Competitive Mid-West businesses are keeping pace with digitization and tech developments with short training interventions to keep their teams on the cutting edge.
“As the employment numbers show it is a very hot jobs market, and we are seeing an increasing number of companies focusing on culture, remote working and up-skilling as tools for attraction and retention of in-demand workers.”