Is the economy really on the up? The Sunday Business Show with Conall Ó Móráin on Today FM
Is the economy really on the up, or is it just an optical illusion? I answer Conall Ó Móráin’s questions on the Sunday Business Show.
Listen to the podcast here.
0:06 Petrol consumption is up 6%, which suggest we might be driving more than expected… If we are driving more, then this means we are moving more, then surely that means good things for the economy?
0:45 Things might be better, but not for everyone. Still, we keep witnessing a steady stream of records or “bests” in recent times: the number of people setting up new businesses is up, the number of tourists visiting Ireland is up, the cost of borrowing is at its lowest, and we’re at the lowest unemployment rate since the onset of the recession.
1:44 The problem with the interpretation of the figures, even good ones like our new credit A rating, is that a lot of them are late. It takes time to gather and collate data. Statistics reflect the state of things six months ago. You can’t wait for the figures if you want to act fast.
3:05 Still, what do you tell people who don’t see an improvement? Times are still hard for many. One in four mortgages is in trouble, there is a dire lack of SME lending, and even though unemployment might be down, it’s still at 11.8%.
3:30 The two-tier economy is not just for exports vs. the domestic economy: there’s another type of division in the recovery. Some households are coming back from the brink, but others have seen their situation erode continuously in the recession and since.
4:20 I’m not surprised that petrol consumption is up. There are more cars on the road, especially around peak traffic times: you could link that to better employment figures, but petrol is also costing more, which feeds into the inflation figures. But are we spending more because we want to, or because we have to?
5:11 1200 new companies are created every week! Conall asks in which area would I advise people to create a business. What do you think my answer is going to be?
5:46 Now is the time to make your systems more efficient. If I had invested into online growth right from the beginning, instead of two or three years in, things might be different for my business today.
5:55 85% of people now setting up a business fully expect to be employers within five years, and many of them expect to employ 20 people or more. This is where Ireland is different from many other European countries.
6:25 Conall tells the story of a friend of his, who taught an online marketing class – and 75% of attendees weren’t thinking of exporting their goods and services! But they don’t really have a choice. Online is online: there are no geographical barriers. The cyberworld is flat.
6:58 Only 4% of Irish companies export. And 90% of that is via foreign direct investment companies. Many are focused on the domestic economy. But Greater Manchester is the size of Ireland, Greater London is two and a half times that. Ireland is great, there’s no doubt about that, but there is an abundance of opportunity when we set our sights further afield.
7:30 Especially as being Irish abroad is such an incredible business asset! I do business in four countries and the Irish business community is very very helpful. Don’t be afraid of exporting, there is so much help out there!
8:17 Listeners remark that Dublin is taking the lion’s share of the recovery. What’s left for the rest of the country? I’m from Cork, studied in Galway, and in my experience I do see the recovery filtering out. A lot of things are happening in Cork: Cork Innovates, PINC Rubicon, Cork Chamber… There are so many opportunities.
9:10 Conall and I discuss online resources that you can avail of no matter where you live and work! Good statistics are easy to find: the #PositiveIreland hashtag and the Institute of Directors have a section on their website solely about good news.
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