New UU Report Highlights Groups Most Vulnerable to Covid-19 Job Losses

21 Jul 2020 Geoff Nuttall    Last updated: 21 Jul 2020

New research by the University of Ulster has highlighted that almost a third of NI jobs are still vulnerable as a result of Covid-19, even following the easing of social distancing restrictions 

The research by UU showed that the groups most affected include those in ‘elementary administrative and service occupations’ (46% -56% of jobs still vulnerable) and ‘retail and wholesale’ jobs (46% - 54%), as well as 16-24 year olds (32-38%), males (29-33%) and part-time workers (26-32%).

It also found that whilst reductions in social distancing requirements have been helpful to some extent in reducing risk to the NI economy by removing c.3% of jobs from vulnerability (importantly providing a greater boost for some of the most vulnerable groups in society), demand reductions are the key driver of job vulnerabilities rather than social distancing. 

The research report concludes that –

“Policies and programmes aimed at boosting demand will be key to the economic recovery, especially for sectors such as retail and wholesale, as support schemes unwind and end in July and October.”

The report also proposes a number of options that local policy makers could consider to boost demand including -

  • An NI based voucher scheme to further encourage spending in the most impacted areas of the economy;
  • Expedited planning for economically significant investments, especially in rural areas; 
  • Investments that focus on infrastructure, technological and competitiveness; 
  • Locally focussed procurement of goods and services; 
  • Reductions in domestic rates, or rates holidays to free up household income for consumption expenditure;
  • Further reductions of social distancing when the balancing of healthcare risks permit; and
  • Focussing on emerging sectors that can generate employment and income in the future.

The report also concludes, however that –

“..it is now evident that it will take a number of years for NI to recover the economic ground lost to COVID-19 and a range of complementary policies will be required to support economic growth and ensure that it is shared across society” 

Read the full report here

geoff.nuttall@nicva.org's picture
by Geoff Nuttall

Head of Policy and Public Affairs

[email protected]

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