Economy - overview: Ireland is a small, modern, trade-dependent economy with growth averaging a robust 8% in 1995-2002. Agriculture, once the most important sector, is now dwarfed by industry, which accounts for 45% of GDP, about 80% of exports, and employs 28% of the labor force. Although exports remain the primary engine for Ireland's robust growth, the economy is also benefiting from a rise in consumer spending, construction, and business investment. Over the past decade, the Irish government has implemented a series of national economic programs designed to curb inflation, reduce government spending, increase labor force skills, and promote foreign investment. Ireland joined in launching the euro currency system in January 1999 along with 10 other EU nations. The economy felt the impact of the global economic slowdown in 2001-02, particularly in the high-tech export sector; the growth rate was cut by half.
Definition: This entry briefly describes the type of economy, including the degree of market orientation, the level of economic development, the most important natural resources, and the unique areas of specialization. It also characterizes major economic events and policy changes in the most recent 12 months and may include a statement about one or two key future macroeconomic trends.
Source: CIA World Factbook - Unless otherwise noted, information in this page is accurate as of April 17, 2002
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