There are hopes that will the economy will grow back at a steady pace next year after a reduction of over 10% this year claim business advisers EY Ireland.
Strong Labour Market & Large Public Sector Holding Up Economy
They believe that the strong labour market here in Northern Ireland allied to a large public sector would help the economy up from further shrinkage and there could be an economic rebound of around 6% growth in 2021. But one fly in the ointment could be Brexit and what sort of trade agreement will be thrashed out.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Professor Neil Gibson, chief economist for EY Ireland, said: “The region is heavily dependent on consumer sectors and has a concentration of industrial sectors which have been strongly impacted by Covid-19, namely heavy machinery and transport equipment. However, NI’s favour for large public sector organisations, so often cited as a weakness, has provided stable and secure employment for many.”
The Flexibility & Adaptability Of NI Businesses
On the fact that unemployment levels had remained fairly stable after spiking at 60,000 a few months after the pandemic, Professor Gibson said: “This partly reflects the effectiveness of the furlough scheme but is also an endorsement of the flexibility and adaptability of NI businesses and workers, a commonly cited positive amongst investors to NI.”
And on a future trade agreement between the European Union and the UK he said: “Despite the UK having already left the EU, much remains unclear regarding NI’s unique position, making it very hard for businesses to effectively prepare.”
Michael Hall, managing partner for EY in NI, is also quoted in the Belfast Telegraph, saying:
“Digital technology is unlocking considerable productivity gains across a wide range of firms.
“There is a concern that in a region heavily dominated by very small firms, there may be a lack of resources to make this investment.
“However, in an increasingly broad range of sectors, technology is lowering the cost of entry, removing the cost associated with peripherality and driving competition. Brexit will require exporters to have better data systems in place and it is becoming clearer that digital progress for firms will be a requirement, not an option.”
Glimmers Of Hope On The Horizon
It is certainly a difficult time right now for the vast majority of businesses in Northern Ireland but there are certainly glimmers of hope on the horizon, one of course being the vaccines for Covid-19 that are due to be introduced in the next few months. If they are successful then we could be in for a very much better year in 2021. Meanwhile if you need any help and advice, you know where we are, call our team on 028 3752 2909.