By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — Just as the United States is showing signs of pulling out of its recession, a series of gloomy economic figures in Ireland have shown inflation is continuing to climb and revealed the nation’s economic slump is continuing with a sharp downturn in the third quarter of 2001.
Gross Domestic Product slowed to 3.2 percent in the third quarter after increases of 9.4 percent in the second quarter and 12.7 percent in the first quarter of the year.
Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, rose to 4.9 percent in January, up from 4.2 percent in December.
The Consumers Association of Ireland claimed profiteering as a result of the euro changeover was partially to blame but the figures are less clear.
The most significant monthly changes were increases in health (up 2.7 percent), education (up 1.3 percent), hotels, cafes, restaurants and pubs (up 1 percent), recreation and culture (up 0.9 percent).
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However, the traditional January sales led to decreases in the price of clothing and footwear (down 11.5 percent) and furnishings, household equipment and household maintenance (down 2.1 percent).
The overall economic figures from the Central Statistics Office show the effects of the slump hitting home.
Capital investment by industry in the third quarter of last year was minus-5.6 percent, compared to plus-2.4 percent in the same quarter of 2000.
Export and import growth also slowed in the third quarter.
Exports rose by 5.3 percent, while imports were up 5.5 percent, compared to increases of 17.1 percent and 11.7 percent in the first half of the year.
Agricultural output was down 7.9 percent as a result of foot-and-mouth disease score in the middle of 2001, and industrial output was up only 2 percent on the same period in 2000.
The rate jobs were created also slowed to 2.9 percent last year, compared with 4.7 percent in 2000 and 6.3 percent in 1999.