Opening Bell: Job vacancies up, Yellen gets hawkish, Northern Ireland ponders 10% corporate tax rate

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The number of professional job vacancies was up 33% in January, when compared with the previous month.

There were nearly 12,000 positions up for grabs last month, with over half of these jobs spread out across the country. This is in contrast to the urban concentration seen in January 2016.

The Morgan McKinley monthly employment monitor also revealed that the majority of opportunities were available in financial services and life sciences companies, with an increased demand for engineers in particular.

Trayc Keevans, Morgan McKinley's director of inward investment, says that Brexit has played a huge part in the number of jobs available:

"The largest number of enquiries are coming from UK-based Asian financial services institutions who are contingency planning. We are seeing a number of opp within the fintech space in particular, so that's the convergence of technology and financial services skills are very much in demand. But those aren't not the only areas.

"In engineering for the first time since the downturn... We're seeing a spike in environmental health specialists...

"There were over 9,000 professionals looking for new jobs in Ireland last month – an increase of 56% on December.

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Over 10,000 people are expected to attend the Dublin Tech Summit over the next two days.

The event – which takes place in Dublin's Convention Centre – will see global leaders in innovation, technology and business come together to discuss the future of technology.

It's expected to be a major boost for the economy and tourism, with over half of the attendees coming from overseas.

Head of Communications with Fáilte Ireland, Alex Connolly said:

"They're really looking at what is the future of the tech industry... It'll be a high-profile calling card for future conferences and particularly for future tech conferences, which is a space we think Ireland can play particularly [strongly] in."

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US Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen has said there will be further interest rate hikes this year, noting that the central bank will likely need to raise rates at an upcoming meeting and that waiting to long would be unwise.

US Treasury yields jumped on Tuesday on foot of the hawkish comments.

According to The Irish Times, Yellen said any delays could leave the Fed behind the curve and needing to raise rates quickly, which could cause a recession.

She also stated that there was considerable uncertainty over US President Donald Trump's economic policy.

Yellen called on Congress to focus on improving productivity rather than pursuing sort-term growth.

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DUP leader Arlene Foster has said her party is "open to looking" at reducing Northern Ireland's corporation tax rate to 10%.

Speaking on day one of the NI Chamber of Commerce's "Five Leaders, Five Days" initiative, the former first minister told the North's business community that she was definitely committed to introducing the proposed rate of 12.5% next year.

However, she warned that the introduction of either lower ate would not be possile unless Stormont was "up and running".