Something that was not highlighted in the Dept. of Finance's January exchequer statement is that Income tax returns for the month are running at 12% below departmental expectations. In fact less was taken in Income tax this January as against January 2006. The budget reductions will not kick in until about March so this cannot be the explaination. E1.107billion was taken in this January as against E1.116billion last year and the departmental monthly profiling expected E1.27billion this January.
This massive as yet unexplaned gap in Income tax was more than compensated for by big increases in VAT, Stamp Duties and Corporation Tax therefore masking this gaping hole. However, seeing as the Income tax returns are a bell weather for employment it does point to some potential issues. Now, one month's figures do not neccessarily need raise alarm, but if this trend persists into the first quarter then it may point to employment problems.
If there are employment problems in the private sector then this may as yet not show up in unemployment stats as you can need to be unemployed for upto 9 weeks to claim benefits and many may be non-nationals whom are not entitled to benefits.
I am just pointing out something that needs to be watched in the next couple of months that may point to the economy not being as robust as we are all led to believe!