Andrew Webb

In response to the publication by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency of the Labour Market Report May 2020, Andrew Webb, Chief Economist, Grant Thornton, said:

“The claimant count figures, which have almost doubled, are a dramatic realisation of what we feared the impact of COVID-19 would be on the economy. While not wholly unsurprising, the immediacy and scale of the increase in claimants is shocking and does raise serious concerns around the fundamental strength of the labour market and how well the economy can bounce back, especially as job retention and business support schemes are scaled back. A weaker labour market reduces demand in the economy and reduces wider economic confidence. It is increasingly likely that the much hoped for immediate bounce back in economic performance after the lockdown will be a longer and slower climb.”