Podcast Episode 20 – The Cash Crunch with Sam McIlveen, NI Jobs – August 2022

The podcast that keeps you up to date with what is happening economy-wise in Northern Ireland.  Telling you what you need to know but not necessarily what you want to hear. It is better to be prepared for the economic environment we are operating in and not the world we would like to be in.

Featuring Sam McIlveen, General Manager at NI Jobs (NIJobs.com)

Throughout August we’ve heard lots of comparisons between today and 1976, given the heatwaves and drought that affected both years. 2022 has been the UK’s driest year since and the driest in Europe for 500 years. Europe’s rivers, such as the Rhine, have been drying up with the record drought in China causing similar problems there. The Southwest of China depends on hydroelectric dams for three-quarters of its electricity generation. Rolling blackouts and business closures due to lack of power have become the norm. 

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Episode 19 | Hiking season returns… time to head for the hill featuring Jordan Buchanan – May 2022

The podcast that keeps you up to date with what is happening economy-wise in Northern Ireland.  Telling you what you need to know but not necessarily what you want to hear. It is better to be prepared for the economic environment we are operating in and not the world we would like to be in.

Featuring Jordan Buchanan – PropertyPal Chief Economist

We’ve become well used to price hikes with rampant inflation.  But April was marked by tax hikes with the increase in National Insurance Contributions hitting the pockets of many employees as well as employers. The attention now though is very firmly on interest rate hikes with the Federal Reserve having just delivered its first half a percentage point rate increase in 22 years with more to come as the Fed seeks to tame inflation which is at 40-year-high.

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Episode 17 | The Great Omission – March 2022

The podcast that keeps you up to date with what is happening economy-wise in Northern Ireland.  Telling you what you need to know but not necessarily what you want to hear. It is better to be prepared for the economic environment we are operating in and not the world we would like to be in.

Last week’s Spring Statement was initially supposed to be little more than an update on economic and fiscal forecasts. However, it had been overtaken by events; namely the cost-of-living crisis. 

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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.

Ulster Economix Podcast Episode 11: Breaking Bad – September 2021

The podcast that keeps you up to date with what is happening economy-wise in Northern Ireland.  Telling you what you need to know but not necessarily what you want to hear. It is better to be prepared for the economic environment we are operating in and not the world we would like to be in.

There has been no shortage of drama on the economic and political fronts during September. And the drama is focussed on shortages.

A number of crises, that have been the subject of previous podcasts, are converging.  These include supply chain disruption, inflationary pressures and adapting to Brexit. Shortages are becoming ever more problematic from labour to energy.

We have had supply chain disruption intensify most recently with petrol shortages. Some headlines ran with Kung Fuel Fighting as skirmishes broke out in GB petrol station forecourts like something out of a Mad Max movie.

So far NI’s sea-border has prevented any cross-contamination here! Labour shortages, notably amongst HGV drivers, are becoming a major problem and we may see the army called in to assist with the driver shortage affecting petrol stations. Strains in the logistics industry coupled with labour shortages in the food processing industry means this Christmas could be one to remember for all the wrong reasons. Warnings of food and toy shortages have been flagged. Remember these challenges are being overlaid on the new regulatory world that is evolving post-Brexit. The reality is the much lauded Just in Time supply chain is Just not Resilient.

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Podcast: Episode 10 – Survival of the richest – August 2021

The podcast that keeps you up to date with what is happening economy-wise in Northern Ireland.  Telling you what you need to know but not necessarily what you want to hear. It is better to be prepared for the economic environment we are operating in and not the world we would like to be in.

Recessions traditionally follow a standard playbook. A fall in output followed by a lagged rise in job losses and unemployment triggering a decrease in consumer spending hitting retail sales and the housing market.

That was the typical path of recessions. The COVID-19 pandemic spawned a new recessionary variant. The UK economy posted its biggest slump in output in over 300 years.  Yet a comparable rise in unemployment did not occur. Similarly, a fall in house prices was viewed as a ‘no brainer’ but it too did not occur.

Rather than double-digit declines in house prices, almost every major economy is reporting booming house prices, marking the biggest rally in more than two decades.

The local housing market has defied economists’ predictions too.

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