Third is Ireland
Ireland appeared invincible until lately. When the rest of Europe was beset by uncertainty (Brexit, trade tensions with the United States, refugee and migrant problems, to name a few), the Irish economy continued to thrive: in 2019, while the Eurozone grew by just 1.2 percent, the Irish economy grew by over 5.9%, cementing its position as the continent’s fastest-growing country. All of that reversed in 2020, when economic growth more than half from prior levels, though it is anticipated to pick again this year.
Ireland, with a population of less than 5 million people, was one of the countries most impacted by the 2008 financial crisis. The island country restored fiscal health, increased employment rates, and saw its per capita GDP nearly double in a short period of time after implementing politically unpalatable reforms such as steep cutbacks to public-sector pay and reorganizing its banking industry.
Do folks now feel twice as wealthy as they were ten years ago? Probably not: Ireland is one of the greatest corporate tax havens in the world, with regular citizens benefiting significantly less than multinational corporations. And, though they are clearly better off than they were, according to OECD data, national household per-capita disposable income is actually lower than the average of all member nations, at around $25,300 vs $33,600 per year. Furthermore, with the scheduled removal of government pandemic aid, the country’s unemployment rate is predicted to rise to 8.1 percent from its current 5.8 percent, leaving about 100,000 more people jobless than before the outbreak.