The midlands is at the bottom of the league regarding personal disposable income, compared to all other regions in the country.
Laois and Offaly fare particularly poorly according to the most recent data from the Central Statistics Office.
According to Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley, the average disposable income in Laois stood at €17,302 – a drop of €561 from the previous year.
The state average is €20,714 and the Sinn Fein TD described this as ‘extremely disappointing’.
Deputy Stanley said: “The figures are deeply disappointing as they show not just that the four midlands counties are at the bottom in terms of income but the gap is actually widening with other regions such as Dublin and Limerick.
“The latest figures are from 2017 and 2018 and these illustrate how incomes per person actually dropped between the two years in all four counties.
“In 2018 Laois stood at €17,302, a drop of €561, Offaly was €16,907 which is down €294, Longford at €17,410 fell €533 and while Westmeath has the highest income out of the four counties – income fell there by €340 to €17,889.
“Compare these figures to Dublin where disposable personal income is at €24,969 or Limerick on €23,302 – it is clear that the Midlands and in particular Laois and Offaly are way behind.
“The two counties are also well below the state average of €21,270. This is despite our strategic location and our much improved road network.
“With the latest figures based on 2018, they don’t capture the impact of the closure of the ESB power plants at Shannonbridge and Lough Ree, or the cessation of peat harvesting by Bord Na Mona.
“The job losses from them will have a profound effect on all four counties.”
He called on the government to focus more on job creation in Laois and Offaly.
He said: “It is time now for a new focus by government, the IDA, Enterprise Ireland along with the semi state companies like Bord Na Móna, ESB and Coilte to create quality jobs in counties like Laois and Offaly.
“Substantial EU funding is also needed for to provide a major stimulus and reboot the economy in both counties.”