Covid-19 crisis worst for NI businesses than economic crash

The Covid-19 crisis has had a far greater impact on businesses in Northern Ireland than the 2008 economic crash, with 77 per cent of companies having furloughed employees.

The latest Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce/BDO quarterly economic survey also shows that 12 per cent of businesses have made staff redundant in recent months while 23 per cent of employers have reduced working hours and in many instances also cut pay.

According to the study, over half of businesses expect to make further redundancies in the coming months while close to one in five companies are uncertain about survival.

“This survey reflects the fall out of arguably the worst economic and social crisis of our lifetime. In terms of the economy, the vast majority of indicators dropped to historic lows, with declines far exceeding those seen at the height of the global financial crisis,” said chamber chief executive Ann McGregor.

“Businesses were already concerned about the impact of Brexit on the economy before Covid-19 however the recent pandemic has placed this in an entirely different context – with companies facing a ‘double whammy,’ placing a huge challenge on the business community in Northern Ireland,” she added.