Employers group Ibec issued a fairly positive forecast for employment prospects yesterday as it predicted the creation of up to 50,000 jobs this year. And a new report from Irishjobs.ie, authored by Limerick University economist Stephen Kinsella, has reported a 2% increase in the number of jobs advertised online in the first three months of this year and a 5% increase year on year.

Stephen Kinsella pointed out that one of the most remarkable features of this quarter's report was the return to health of the construction sector. "One of the things that really shocked us this year is that construction rebounded so strongly. It's a really a good sign that things are rebounding in the sector. It's the type of result that when you see it you have to check your figures," he said.

Dr Kinsella pointed to sectoral changes in the economy that were apparent in the report when compared to the first quarter of 2009, which is used as a baseline for the study. "There's a move to high-end manufacturing and production which is up more than 300% in that time. IT, finance and sales are also performing strongly." 

But he also warned of a credit restraint on the economy which he said would act as "a boundary" on economic growth. "When economies are rebounding after a financial crisis, it typically takes seven to 14 years. This is year six for us. We're ahead of the curve to a certain extent, probably because of the openness of the economy, but most importantly when credit is restricted to average everyday users, domestic demand is going to be restricted," he concluded.

MORNING BRIEFS - The medical director of the Beacon Hospital has assured patients and staff that the change in ownership of the facility will have no impact on services. It was announced yesterday that businessman Denis O'Brien had taken control of the private hospital in Sandyford. The hospital was previously owned and operated by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre. The facility employs 600 staff and 200 consultants operate from there.

*** The world's biggest maker of TVs and mobile phones, Samsung, has forecast a drop in profit for the second quarter in a row. It expects to make an operating profit of 8.4 trillion won - or about €5.75 billion euro - for the three months from January to March. This is down 4% from the same period last year and follows a 6% decline in operating profit in the previous quarter. The drop points to the challenge faced by Samsung to boost its earnings amid falling prices of smartphones. 

*** Finance ministers and central bankers from around the world gather in Washington for the International Monetary Fund's twice-annual meeting today. The IMF is expected to upscale global growth estimates amid signs of recovery in developed economies. That comes as the World Bank pared back its growth forecasts for developing economies in East Asia. However it said the region's economies were likely to see steady growth in the next couple of years, helped by a pick-up in global growth and trade.

*** First quarter results season kicks off in the US today - but stock markets are nervous with tech stock taking a hit. Google and Netflix in particular came in for a hard time at the end of last week with investors deciding that stock prices were too high. The sell-off continued yesterday with the Dow, the S&P and Nasdaq all closing down more than 1%.