Apple is to hire 500 people in Ireland in the latest boost to the indebted euro zone country's multinational sector, one of the few bright spots in a struggling economy.
The U.S. consumer electronics giant will increase the headcount at its European headquarters in the southern city of Cork over the next 18 months from 2,800 at present, a spokesman for the company said.
He said the jobs would "support our growing business across Europe," but he did not say what kind of jobs would be created. The Cork operation provides distribution, supply chain management and back office functions.
Bailed out by the EU/IMF in late 2010 and midway through a punishing eight-year austerity drive, Ireland has an unemployment rate of 14.3 percent, its highest since 1993 and more than three times the level of 2007.
While workers are still being laid off as consumer spending continues to shrink, Dublin has succeeded in attracting Google and Facebook thanks to its low corporate tax rates and educated, English-speaking workforce within the eurozone.
Generics drug maker Mylan on Wednesday announced it would hire 500 people in Ireland.
Exterior view before an Apple event in San Francisco. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma