Event summary – Jim Power, Economist

We had an interesting discussion with Economist Jim Power at our recent virtual Monthly Members’ Meeting on 4 June on the effects of Covid-19 on the economy and the prospects for the future.

There were positive numbers for quarter one with employment up by 51,600 year on year and a positive year in prospect until the outbreak of Covid-19.

There has been the ‘Sharpest slowdown since the 1920’s’ per the IMF as economic activity in April slowed dramatically. Statistics noted were:

  • Retails sales for April 2020 were down 44.8% in value YOY, with motor trade down 79.8%.
  • Overseas visitors -99.1% (April, YoY), -44.4% (Jan-April).
  • Over 1.2 million receiving government support.
  • % of Retail turnover from online 15.5% in April (3.3% for 2019 in total).

Jim Power presenting to CAIM members

It was noted that the recovery will depend on the path of the virus but a gradual opening up is under way which is very positive. Jim is of the opinion that Ireland in a good place to borrow and with personal savings increasing during the crisis this will drive a rebound in spending. However, it is vital that government act quickly to protect business and support re-employment during the recovery period. Jim expects demand to be strong for interim management services and noted that they can be a valuable resource to business as they look to the recovery.

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