Employment outlook weakest for almost a decade

The outlook for Irish private sector employment is at its weakest for almost a decade, a business survey showed.

Company profitability in Ireland looks set to come under severe pressure over the next year despite much weaker expected costs, notably for labour, the AIB Ireland Business Activity Report said.

The most commonly predicted timescale for recovery from the impact of Covid-19 was within seven to 12 months.

The impact of Covid has been extremely wide-reaching and the severity of that impact has varied greatly across different sectors

AIB head of business banking Hilary Gormley said: “The impact of Covid has been extremely wide-reaching and the severity of that impact has varied greatly across different sectors.

“The same can be said for the recovery, as the survey highlights that the speed of recovery for businesses will vary, depending on their activities, markets and customers.”

Those asked also highlighted concerns about profitability over the next 12 months, but she said the key focus for businesses in the short term is liquidity (access to money), and ensuring they are adequately resourced and are focused on managing their working capital as best they can.

The 12-month outlook for Irish private sector employment is the weakest for nearly a decade, AIB said.

Ms Gormley added: “It is also important to note some of the positive responses to the survey and that for some firms the dynamic environment created by Covid and Brexit will create opportunities for growth or diversification into new markets or product lines.”

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