Ireland's recent economic woes can be sharply illustrated by - you guessed it - graphs. The first is the increase in long-term unemployment over the last few years in selected EU countries. Ireland's rate of long-term unemployment is a cause for concern. Long-term unemployment, where a person of working age is unemployed for more than 12 months, is associated with a host of personal and societal costs as this paper by Bell and Blanchflower (pdf) shows.
The second issue is the sectoral nature of those becoming unemployed, and particularly long-term unemployed. Not all sectors in the Irish economy experienced the same downturn. Some were barely affected at all. Some sectors are in long-run decline – such as candle-making – and others are just beginning to really thrive (such as online gaming). Yet others are a large part of Ireland's boom-bust cycle, for example construction and related services.
When the upturn comes in business cycles, it tends to come from private enterprises starting to look at prospects in their various sectors, hiring people to create products and services (or to service existing demand) and trying to make a profit.