Business and Employers' group, Ibec, is forecasting strong growth in the economy this year driven by a buoyant domestic sector underpinned by strong growth in employment.

There's no shortage of measures for economic growth now, from GDP to GNP and the newly invented measure of GNI*.

Gerard Brady, Head of Tax and Fiscal Policy with Ibec, said the best measure of economic growth at the moment is employment. 

"We can come up with as many measures as we want, but employment tells the story on the ground. We expect almost 60,000 net new jobs to be created this year. That's 3% employment growth. It looks like the strongest growth since 2007. All that in the face of challenging conditions in business."

In its latest quarterly report, Ibec looked at the regional impact of Brexit on employment.

"Rural areas are more than five times more reliant on Brexit exposed jobs than urban areas. One in three people in the Cavan-Monaghan area are employed in Brexit exposed sectors. It's only 6% of workers in urban areas," Gerard Brady explained.

"Areas that are heavily dependent on tourism and agriculture will be impacted no matter what Brexit happens in 2019. Areas like tourism have really felt the pain in recent weeks. Agriculture and manufacturing felt it last year."

One of the most immediate impacts of Brexit was on the exporting sector which has faced a renewed period of currency pressure since the UK elections in May.

"Only 10% of our exports come from the indigenous sector. Multinationals make up the rest. However, indigenous exporters employ more people in the economy and spend more in the domestic economy than the whole of the multinational sector together," he said.

"The government needs to start putting mitigation measures in place in the budget." 

Consumer spending was another of slight concern raised in the report.

"Overall it's growing, but there's massive price competition going on. Traditional market town activity has gone the way of the internet. That poses a major challenge over the long term. 

"Population growth is what's driving consumer spend right now. We still see increased volume of growth but price competition is making it tough for retailers when margins are squeezed and costs are increasing," Mr Brady concluded.