Podcast Episode 14 | Economic ghosts of past present and future – December 2021

The podcast that keeps you up to date with what is happening economy-wise in Northern Ireland.

On the cusp of Christmas, it feels apt to reflect on the past, present and future of the local economy. And with issues like Covid, Brexit and rampant inflation very much on the agenda, there is no shortage of scary topics to discuss.

2021 was the year of the rebound and it was full steam ahead on the recovery with the roll out of vaccines facilitating that by allowing the economy to open up. This meant that vaccine queues were one of the images of the year, rather than the expected dole queues which were the ghosts of the past that didn’t come back to haunt us.

Output within Northern Ireland’s private services sector is back above pre-pandemic levels and has finally recovered the lost output from the previous recession – that’s the Global Financial Crisis / Property Crash one. It took the V-shaped recovery from a pandemic to get it back to levels last seen almost 15 years ago.

When it comes to the labour market, we are back above pre-pandemic levels in a range of areas including the number of employees on local payrolls. These have now reached record levels whilst the unemployment rate is below 4%. Predictions of a surge in unemployment following the end of the furlough scheme have proved wide of the mark. Some would say, with justification, that the job retention scheme has been probably the best pandemic policy in the world. Although some aspects of the labour market such as total hours worked and the number of self-employed are still well below pre-pandemic levels.

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