IRELAND’S ECONOMY is expected to recover “quite strongly” once lockdown lifts, a new report has revealed.
However, unemployment is likely to take longer to return to pre-pandemic levels with the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) predicting that jobs market will bounce back by 2023 at the earliest.
The projections are based on the assumption that Ireland's Level 5 lockdown measures will begin being gradually eased from April 5th.
It is also based on the expectation that Ireland’s ongoing vaccine rollout will allow for the broad relaxation of public health restrictions over the second half of the year and that there will not be another full lockdown in 2021.
With these considerations factored in, the ESRI expects s Irish GDP to increase by 4.4 per cent this year.
The average unemployment rate is expected to average out at around 25 per cent over the first three months of the year, dropping around 10 per cent by the end of 2021.
It is then projected to fall further into 20222, with an average of just over seven per cent for the year.
Despite this, the ESRI does not expect unemployment rates fall to pre-Covid levels until late in 2023 at the very earliest.
The ESRI’s Conor O’Toole said: “Recovery of the economy in 2021 is tightly linked to the rollout of the vaccination programme, which will allow easing of restrictions on a broad base.
“As households’ savings have increased during the pandemic, an easing of public health measures may encourage households to spend more readily and support the recovery."