These are worrying times for the business community in Northern Ireland and this is borne out by a recent survey by the Ulster Bank which shows business output stagnating in the month of October with no real prospect of any growth on the horizon. With orders for businesses falling and employees getting laid off the future looks uncertain at best.
Significant Declines In Employment Levels
Manufacturing, services and retail firms all reported significant declines in employment levels, while the construction sector posted a modest drop in headcount. And economic data shows that the economy in Northern Ireland shrank by 4.5% in the first quarter of the year compared to the previous year.
Ulster Bank chief economist Richard Ramsey is quoted on a BBC News website article as saying:
“What little momentum there was has been lost during the start of the fourth quarter, with output growth stagnating in October,” he said.
“With new orders posting their third successive decline in October and restrictions to remain in place for at least the first half of November, the prospect of a pick-up in growth anytime soon looks slim.
“Meanwhile Northern Ireland’s largest export market, the Republic of Ireland, posted its second successive month of contraction.
“Subdued demand from the Republic is contributing to the continued marked decline in local firms’ export orders.
“The resurgence of Covid-19 and the reintroduction of lockdowns across Europe is expected to see economies contract over the course of the fourth quarter,” said Mr Ramsey.
“Northern Ireland is not expected to be any different with the economy set for an annual decline of around 15% for 2020.
“The longer the restrictions remain in place the deeper the contraction will be.
“The extension of the furlough period until the end of March 2021 will provide some much needed certainty for businesses in an abnormally uncertain world.”
Restrictions On Business Trade Have Had A Huge Effect On The Economic Climate
It seems that Northern Ireland has been hit particularly badly by the pandemic, the economy was already showing signs of decline before it hit our shores, once it did restrictions on business trade have had a huge effect on the economic climate.
We have been helping businesses finding the funding they require, and any grants they may be eligible for, to help them in this difficult time, and we have also helped businesses formulate new business plans. If you require any help with your business get in touch with our team on 028 3752 2909.