Ibec welcomes National Account numbers from CSO

September 07, 2020

Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, welcomed today's National Accounts numbers published by the Central Statistics Office. The figures for the months of April, May, and June captured the worst impacts of the lockdown on the economy. Despite unemployment rising to 23% during the period, the economy only shrank by 6.1%. This follows recent data showing robust tax returns over the Summer period.  

These trends clearly illustrate the ‘K-shaped’ nature of the recovery, with large differences in the pace of growth emerging between and within sectors. The figures released today show both the significant losses facing our domestic sectors and the continued robust performance of our export model. This is illustrated in the figures with consumer spending falling by 22%, domestic investment falling by 23%, and our exports remaining flat, on an annual basis. 

Ibec Chief Economist Gerard Brady welcomed the figures, stating: "There is no doubt that we face some of the most challenging economic headwinds in living memory. As we head toward 2021, the tide of the first impacts of Covid on the economy is beginning to recede and reveal the true economic damage left behind in the labour market. There are close to half a million people unemployed and large sectors of our economy are facing extremely challenging operating environments. 

“Today’s figures, however, give us some cause for hope. Ireland’s export orientated business model has proven robust to the global challenge of Covid. We are a country with a skilled population, global outlook, and welcoming business environment, which sits at the core of one of the World’s largest markets. This, along with our mix of high-tech companies in areas like ICT, food, and health, leaves us better placed than most to recover when the global economy returns to growth. 

“The economy will face a significant number of challenges and oscillations over the coming months, including the prospect of a no-deal Brexit. This makes business planning exceptionally difficult and confidence remains brittle. If businesses face rising uncertainty, they will limit their hiring and investment plans with significant implications for the wider economy. It is important that the Government continue to engender confidence through clear, consistent, and timely consultation and communication over the coming months.”