The first picture illustrates crime stats for broad categories 1-5: all down, except for sexual offences and kidnappings etc. Nasty stuff, but at least some good news on murder, homicide, assaults etc.
The second chart shows categories 6-12, most are property related and all are down except for robbery7, extortion and hijacking. Given the current economic climate, this is surprising as crime rises in general as recession intensifies. Anecdotal evidence - like local authorities representatives in my area - are telling me that in the last 2 months some 23 burglaries took place in Ringsend, Irishtown and Sandymount area. This is a huge increase. But we shall see if this is matched in the Q2 2009 stats for the rest of the country. For now, however, except for the state robbing us blind, other criminals are staying out of our pockets... or are not being caught...
Live Register is out and is worth a closer look. The pace of increases in LR is abating, but remains furious. The first observation is expected, given massive increases in previous months. We are seeing a technical correction, not an inflection. January-April 2009 we have added 96,000 of freshly un- and under-employed to welfare rolls. Same period 2008 it was 'just' 28,000. April monthly rise was 15,800 or 52% down on the record-breaking January increase of 33,000. Now, this might be some sort of 'good' news for some spin masters, but if April pace continues to the end of the year, we are looking at 515,000 unemployed by January 1, 2010. DofF Supplementary Budget figures estimate unemployment to close off at 12.6% in 2009. Yeah, right...
Below is a chart with data up to date and my forecasts. First forecast is basically a repeat of last years rates of rise for the following months. The rest of 2009 monthly average for this case is 4.88% - much lower than the 4-months average to date which is 7.34%. One slight departure - in this scnario I assume that December 2009 rise in Live Register will be lower than that for December 2008. Just to be nice... The second forecast is Adverse Scenario, corresponding to the next 8 moths of 2009 running along the rates of increases in the previous 8 months (since September 2008 through April 2009), with January record rise being moderated by roughly 1/2. The average monthly rate of increase for this scenario for the months of May-December 2009 is 5.87%, still below the current running average of 7.34%.
A worrying thing about this is that, as you have probably noticed - both scenarios yield LR figures well above 515,000. Benign scenario produces end of year unemployment rate of 16.7% or 568,842 on the Live Register, and adverse scenario provides for 18% unemployment with 613,200 on the Live Register...
These are plotted in the chart below.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that April saw an increase in the females rate of signing onto the LR, relative to males. 41% of new claimants signing up are now women, the largest proportional increase since May 2008. This is likely a sign that:
- white collar jobs are now evaporating at a faster pace, thanks to the Government heroic efforts to support the 'knowledge' economy;
- redundancy payments are wearing thin (with families beginning to run out of redundancy payments cash and thus being forced to sign members onto LR); and
- tax bills for formerly two-earner households are rising, necessitating more women to sign onto the register.
Per CSO release January figures for 2009 when compared with those of 2008 show that:
- Electrical machinery exports decreased by 51%, imports fell by 24% - MNCs are shrinking their production levels;
- Power generating machinery imports increased by 49%, while electricity imports were up 101%;
- Computer equipment exports were down 22%, imports fell 35% - ditto for MNCs;
- Edible products by 34% - domestic exporters are suffering here;
- Industrial machinery fell by 44% for exports and by 34% for imports, specialized machinery imports fell 56%, iron and steel imports down 43% - more MNCs cuts and these are savage;
- Medical and pharmaceutical products exports increased by 15%, which means imports also rose by 6% - MNCs in this sector are firing on all cylinders and transfer pricing is abating - a cyclical component due to accounting timing;
- Organic chemicals increased 10% for exports and but fell 22% for imports - again foreign firms cut production while drawing down surplus inventories;
- Other transport equipment (including aircraft) exports rose by 610%, while imports fell 43% (one wonders if this was due to fire sales of old aircraft and helicopters as Celtic Tiger developers are starting to shrink their consumption);
- Imports of road vehicles down 71% - say by-by to VRT and VAT receipts and thank you to the Greens and VAT increases;
- Telecom equipment imports fell 26%;
- Exports to China decreased by 39%, to Great Britain by 13%, to Germany by 14% and to Malaysia by 44%
- Exports to the United States increased by 5%, to Belgium by 4%, to Bermuda by €70m and to Switzerland by147%.
- Imports from Germany decreased by 43%, the United States by 25%, Great Britain by 19%, China by 29% and Norway by 55%.
- Imports from Argentina increased by 29%, Poland by 10%, Indonesia by 47%, India by 12% and Egypt by 55%.
And imports losses are, of course, lost production by our MNCs and therefore a future loss of exports... and jobs.
New vehicles registrations site (that's right - a new dynamic face of CO with low-res masthead, but much better analysis of data is here) is full of interesting stats - primarily concerning the decline in motor trade since Brian, Brian & Mary decided to horse around with new VRT, increase VAT and rob households of their cash. You can see these for yourselves. But what got me thinking are the longer run trends. Here are some charts:
First, look at all vehicles registered in Ireland. Despite a dramatic fall-off in numbers, long-term moving average shows a clear twin-peaks pattern with sales peaking in and around 2000 - the vanity demand (given our license plates), followed by the fatter peak in 2007 - the SSIAs demand. There is no serious justification for asking for some emergency measures, e.g a scrappage scheme, for the sector as no amount of subsidy will bring us back to the boom days of 2005-2007. There is a room to argue against the VRT, but not on the grounds of some car sales jobs protection.
Second, look at the relationship in sales of new and used vehicles. A 'vanity' dip in sales of second hand vehicles around 2000 was followed by a much more sensible realisation in 2006-2007 that there is no need to pay through the nose for new cars. Gradually, we built up a knowledge curve that our own Irish-based dealers are:
- taking fatter profit margins that those in the UK; and
- providing no better service in return.
Chart above dispels the myth of the 'Killer SUV-driving Yummy-mummies' on our roads. Remember the slew of articles in 2007 telling us that we should be ashamed of driving big 4x4s and that Blackrock and South Dublin Yummy-Mummies were out in tens of thousands on our roads for school runs, driving an ever bigger SUVs? Irish Times, as always a guardian against consumerism, led this yellow journalism pack. Now, see the share of vehicles with 2000cc or bigger engines that are on our roads? It is negligible! In fact, chart below illustrates this point in detail.
At no time did vehicles with engines in excess of 2,400CC represent more than 4.5% of the total vehicles numbers registered.
Lastly, the chart above shows how out of touch are our public sector purchasing managers with reality. 2008 recorded an absolute record in new vehicles registrations by the public sector, just as the economy was spinning into a recession. Well done lads.