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Don’t believe everything you hear




By Michael O’Connor,

A new year, a new market rally.

Lower inflation, a Chinese reopening boom and a resilient labour market resulted in the biggest January gain in the S&P 500 in eight years as Wall Street switched from cautious to confident at the drop of a hat.

In true market fashion, last year’s losers have turned into this year’s darlings. The Tech-heavy Nasdaq Index jumped almost 11% (now up over 17% at the time of writing).

Facebook for example is now up 110% following its 66% loss last year, Netflix is up 120% while Coinbase is up 140%.

Job losses

One of the major contributors to the current market run has been the continued strength in the labour market.

Despite headline news about countless lay-offs, we remain in one of the strongest labour markets in history.

In the US, 517,000 jobs were added in January - the largest monthly gain since last July.

The unemployment rate is now 3.4%, the lowest level since early 1969.

Tech lay-offs have been front and centre, but as always, there is far more to a story than the headline the media are pushing.

Yes, 1.5 million people lost their jobs in the US during December.

However, the crucial data point the media left out was that US employers hired 6.2 million people over the same time period.

In fact, despite the media focus, the ratio of lay-offs to hires are well above historical standards.
Ireland’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was at 4.4 percent in January well below the 5% from the same period a year previous.

Three points to note

Despite the struggles in the tech industry at the moment, it only represents a tiny proportion of the overall labour market. Job losses in tech have been more than offset by new job openings across airlines, hospitality and retail.

Even during periods of robust economic growth, employers subtracted hundreds of thousands - and sometimes millions - of jobs per month.

Data needs context

Yes, current tech cut backs are concerning but there is more to the story than just one data point. During the pandemic these companies pulled forward three years’ worth of demand into one. Consumer tech demand exploded. Head counts expanded rapidly. The pace was never going to be sustainable.

From its fiscal year-end in September 2019 to September 2022, the employee count at Amazon doubled, Microsoft’s rose 53%, Google parent Alphabet Inc.’s increased 57% and Facebook owner Meta’s ballooned 94%.

Wall Street Journal

A single data point never tells the whole story, but why let the truth get in the way of a good story eh?

The truth is, for now, hiring remains strong, and the volume of current job openings out there suggests hiring could remain strong in the months ahead.

Some leading indicators such as wage growth, temp roles and quit rates continue to fall, pointing towards the potential rise in unemployment numbers to com - but we are not there yet.

In my opinion we have reached ‘peak’ employment conditions. As the lag effects of tighter economic policy take hold, this labour market strength will start to show more signs of weakness, but we are slowing from a very strong positions. Don’t let the headline news send you into a frenzy just yet.

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Start clocking up those ‘Kingdom Kilometres’

With an increase in daylight hours there’s no better time to clock up the ‘Kingdom Kilometres’ on foot or by cycling along the county’s two new Greenways. The recently opened […]




With an increase in daylight hours there’s no better time to clock up the ‘Kingdom Kilometres’ on foot or by cycling along the county’s two new Greenways.

The recently opened Kingdom of Kerry Greenways between Tralee and Fenit and between Listowel and Abbeyfeale are already proving hugely popular with locals and visitors to Kerry.

Representatives of the tourism Industry, local public representatives, travel writers and influencers gathered in Kerry on Monday to experience the exciting new tourist attractions and welcome the arrival of the longer daylight hours as the clocks changed over to summertime.

Sarah Hanrahan, a social media influencer who posts about Irish travel and has more than 100,000 Instagram followers, described the experience.

“Ireland has some of the most amazing outdoor spaces. For a lot of my followers and other people, connecting with green spaces has become much more important to their overall sense of well-being as well as their health and fitness. It’s been really gorgeous to experience the Tralee to Fenit, and Listowel to Limerick Kingdom of Kerry Greenways; a fantastic trip sampling the warm hospitality of Kerry and a great reminder of the active holiday options that are right on our doorstep.”

The new purpose-built trails provide an accessible and inclusive experience for visitors of all abilities.

Mayor of Tralee, Cllr Mikey Sheehy and the Mayor of Listowel, Cllr Aoife Thornton, said that the greenways offer an exceptional recreational amenity for everyone to enjoy.

“The greenways are situated in some of Kerry’s most scenic landscapes and offer spectacular and safe off-road facilities for people of all ages to enjoy as the landscape comes into bloom. They also offer warm hospitality at the trail head towns of each route.”

Visit to find out more.


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St Patrick’s Day parade winners announced

Killarney Valley Classic and Vintage Club has won the sought-after overall award in recognition of their colourful and action-packed entry to this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Killarney. Delighted […]



Killarney Valley Classic and Vintage Club has won the sought-after overall award in recognition of their colourful and action-packed entry to this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Killarney.

Delighted club representatives were presented with the Seán O’Keeffe Perpetual Trophy – in memory of the former Mayor of Killarney and parade stalwart – at a gala presentation of prizes in the International Hotel, Killarney on Tuesday night.

The award for the Best Interpretation of the Theme, which was Killarney: Experience More, went to the Wander Wild Festival who received the Michael Courtney Perpetual Trophy which is dedicated to the memory of another former mayor of the town who spearheaded the annual St Patrick’s Day celebrations for many years.

The John ‘Killer’ O’Callaghan Perpetual Trophy for the Best Sporting Entry was won by Killarney Athletic AFC and the Peter Irwin Memorial Trophy for the Best Marching Group and Cultural/Arts Entry went to Millstreet Pipe Band.

The Best Sports Club was Spa GAA, the Best Children’s Group prize was won by Kilcummin Comhaltas and the Best New Entry was Killarney Rugby Football Club.

There was an international flavour to the Best Musical Entry which was scooped by the Glenridge High School Marching Band from New Jersey.

The prize for the Best Voluntary Group went to the Kerry Stars Special Olympics Club, the Best School Award went to the Fiona Crowley Stage School and the Best Activity Group was deemed to be Scorchers Cheerleading Club.

The Most Entertaining Entry went to the Killarney Tidy Towns group, the prize for the Most Original Entry was won by Liebherr Container Cranes and the Most Imaginative Entry in the parade was the Art House, Killarney.

The Most Stylish Entry prize was awarded to the Ukrainian community whose representative said they were delighted to play a part in Ireland’s national holiday and thanked the people of Killarney for the warm welcome they have received.

Other prizes presented on the night included the Best Window Display which went to Christy Healy’s on New Street who were celebrating 100 years in business on St Patrick’s Day, while the Europe Hotel and Resort won the Best Green-Themed Building prize.

The judges for the parade were Br Pat Lynch, Guardian, Franciscan Friary, Pam Brosnan, Killarney Musical Society and Denis McMahon.

The awards were presented by Killarney St Patrick’s Festival Chairman Paul Sherry, Mayor of Killarney Cllr Niall Kelleher, Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce Senior Executive Bridget O’Keeffe, and parade grand marshal Cathal P Walshe.

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