Vaccine rollout will be a shot in the arm for Irish economy in second half of the year
Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, today published its new Quarterly Economic Outlook, which forecasts an increase in GDP of 3.1% in 2021 on the back of continued export growth. The group says that the acceleration of the vaccine rollout in the coming weeks will provide the foundations for improved conditions for many households and businesses in the second half of the year. The opening months of 2021 have been some of the most difficult for the Irish economy and society since the onset of COVID-19. Despite this, there is potential for society and commerce to take a more normal rhythm in the second half of the year.
Commenting on the report, Ibec Chief Economist, Gerard Brady, said: “Lockdown measures in the first part of the year have been tough and protracted, placing additional pressure on the economy, with particular disruption to the labour market. There are currently over 650,000 people unemployed, with a further 310,000 reliant on wage subsidies. The current restrictions mean that most will remain there well into the second quarter. While the impact of this has been significant, there is cause for optimism.
“Notwithstanding turbulence so far, vaccine supply is set to increase rapidly from April onwards. Efficient rollout will be key to meeting vaccine timelines, allowing for the unwinding of some lockdown measures and economic recovery later in the year. Disregarding the noise about vaccine supply, the signal is clear – with efficient rollout most adults should have their first dose by Q3. From there, light will begin to creep in.
“Vaccine rollout will allow us to return to a more normal rhythm in the second half of 2021. We won’t, however, see a return to normal trading and employment in all sectors due to ongoing social distancing and public health requirements. It will be vital that Government supports for households and businesses remain in place for those worst effected, to give confidence to consumers and businesses alike. But an efficient vaccine rollout along with continued export growth, will bring down elevated savings rates, get people back to work, and give the economy a much needed shot in the arm.”