A leading group that represents Irish business launched an economic and social report compiled from publicly available data from across three North West county’s.
IBEC, formerly known as the Irish Business and Employers Confederation, released the Local Economic Indicators 2018: Doing Business Locally report on Tuesday.
The report had aims of revealing key insights in eight key areas including population, housing, skills, broadband, travel/commuting, tourism, local enterprise development and local government finances.
Cormac Kearns, Ibec North West Regional President, said: “Ibec’s ambition is to make the North West a better place to live and work. To sustain economic growth and ensure that it can be better shared across the country, the North West region must offer a 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.”
Some of the key findings of the Local Economic Indicators 2018 for the North West include:
- The North West has the lowest labour force participation rate in the country, with Leitrim the sole county in the area at the national average (65%).
- Sligo ranks 7th nationally for the total number of third-level graduates in the labour force and 12th in terms of having the highest concentration of STEM-graduates in the workforce, which underpins the innovative activity taking place locally.
- The North West ranks the lowest in the country in terms of travel time to a State airport or major Tier 1 or 2 designated port. This plays a significant role in making the region appear inaccessible. There is an urgent need to counter the actual and perceived peripherality of the North West 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 outperforming the national average demonstrating that people can live close to where they work.
- Sligo is 3rd and Donegal is 5th in the country for the number of people with a commute of 30 minutes or less.
- The North West is the most dependent region on the National Broadband Plan and Leitrim is the most dependent county. Over half of homes and businesses in Leitrim cannot access high-speed broadband.
- Sligo is 9th, Leitrim 12th and Donegal 13th nationally for IDA jobs as a share of the local labour force, demonstrating the ongoing investment by multinationals in the region.
- Developing small businesses and entrepreneurship is strongest in Leitrim. The county ranks 3rd in Ireland in terms of employment by Local Enterprise Office as a share of the labour force. The region performs strongly in the assisting small and new business growth. The region should provide these companies with the right conditions to grow.