Making the South East a better place to live and work – Ibec


Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, has launched Local Economic Indicators 2018: Doing Business Locally

Local Economic Indicators 2018 is an evidenced-based report compiled from publicly available data from across Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford City & County, and Wexford. It provides insights for future policy planning in relation to eight categories: population, housing, skills, broadband, travel / commuting, tourism, local enterprise development and local government finances.

Ibec South East Regional President, Professor Willie Donnelly said: “Ibec’s ambition is to make the South East a better place to live and work. To sustain economic growth and ensure that it can be better shared across the country, the South East region must offer strong quality of life and employment opportunities.

“Regional and individual local data breakdowns provide unique economic and social insights. This allows us to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of the economy at a local level across a range of areas. We can also see how we compare to other regions and local authority areas.

“The report provides a state of play of local and regional competitiveness. We do not limit performance monitoring to areas that are in direct local control and include indicators that fall outside the remit of local government. The findings provide an important window to the performance and impact on the ground of national and regional policies. Paying ongoing attention to them will help determine the success of the National Planning Framework and other national strategies,” he said.

Some of the key findings of the Local Economic Indicators 2018 for the South East include:

  • The South East region has the third lowest labour force participation rates in the country, with Kilkenny the sole county in the area at the national average (65%).
  • The concentration of STEM-graduates in the region’s work force is a concern, with Waterford the only county close to the national average. The establishment of a Technological University in the South East will have particular significance on the skills profile of the region.
  • International maritime connectivity is a key selling point. Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford are all well connected to port infrastructure, with travel time to a Tier 1 or 2 port under an hour for all four counties. Waterford and Wexford can both access a port in less than 30 minutes.  
  • Travel time to a State airport (Dublin, Cork or Shannon) across the region exceeds the national average.  However, Waterford airport has the potential to boost international connectivity for the region.
  • The region performs strongly in terms of short commuting times with approximately 2 out of every 3 people have a commute of 30 minutes or less. Each county strongly outperforms the national average demonstrating that people can live close to where they work.
  • Waterford is 2nd, Kilkenny 11th and Wexford 12th in the country for the number of people with a commute of 30 minutes or less.
  • Extreme commuting times is a concern in Carlow with approximately 16% of the local population having a daily commute of two hours or more.
  • The South East has a high dependency on the National Broadband Plan with 29% of homes and businesses unable to access high speed broadband. Approximately 50% of premises in Kilkenny currently can access high quality broadband.
  • There is a diverse enterprise base across the region. A university in the region will assist in attracting high quality FDI investment and retaining high quality and specialist senior staff.
  • Waterford ranks 3rd for IDA jobs 10,000 people in the labour force. They also rank 5th for Enterprise Ireland jobs and 9th for Local Enterprise Office supported jobs. Carlow is second for LEO jobs and 6th for Enterprise Ireland. Kilkenny and Wexford sit near the middle of the rankings across all three categories.

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