As of 30 June 2012, 230 archaeological excavation licenses had been issued by the National Monuments Service. This represents just 41% of the 558 licenses issued in 2011. The quarterly results will not have analytical value until year on year comparisons can be made beginning in 2013, however early indications are that archaeological activity in Ireland is continuing to decline. Corroborating evidence of the continued decline in construction and development activity in Ireland has been gathered by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF). The CIF forecast that just 7,500-8,000 houses will be built in Ireland in 2012. This represents a reduction of 25% on the number of houses built in 2011 and a 93% reduction on the number of houses built in 2006. The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Manager’s Index fell to 42.5 in June from 46.3 in May. General weakness across the Irish economy is indicated by the Central Statistics Office Household Survey which shows that the number of people employed fell by 18,100 or 1% (seasonally adjusted to 0.4%) in the first quarter of 2012, with the second largest fall in the construction sector coming after the fall in employment in the hospitality sector. The construction sector has reduced from 267,000 employed in 2006 to just 103,100 employed today. The Central Statistics Office also notes that the unemployment rate has reached a new post-crash high of 14.9% in June.
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Mount, C. Indicators suggest that archaeological activity in Ireland continued to decline in the first half of 2012. The Charles Mount Blog, 9 July 2012. http://charles-mount.ie/wp/?p=862