21 May 2022

Limerick's resilience during Covid-19 highlighted in new report

Funding boost for multi-million euro plans will help transform Limerick city

The development of the Cleeves Quarter is highlighted in the Latest EY Limerick Economic Monitor

THE number of new job announcements in Limerick during the first quarter of this year exceeded the figure for the same period in 2020, a new report has found.

A total of 860 new jobs were announced in the first three months of 2021 - representing a 217.3% year-on-year increase.

According to the latest Limerick Economic Monitor, 520 of the new jobs are full-time positions.

The biannual report, which is prepared by EY for Limerick City and County Council, reveals that despite the unprecedented challenges of the past year, Limerick has shown resilience during Covid-19.

In addition to the various jobs announcements, another positive was that residential investment increased to €250m between August 2020 and the end of February.

The report, which has just been published, found that Limerick city and county has performed relatively well compared to other counties during the pandemic. However, the impact of Covid-19 has been dramatic, with 16,433 people in receipt of PUP and 10,659 people in receipt of EWSS as of Feb 22, 2021.

The Economic Monitor reveals that around 27,400 workers in Limerick were reliant on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment  or Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, as businesses remained closed due to public health restrictions. This compares to a peak of 34,000 in May 2020 during the first lockdown and was in line with the national average.

The sectors most impacted by Covid-19 and the associated restrictions remain retail and tourism. Revenue per Available Room, which gauges the demand for hotel rooms as well as the price charged for these rooms, was 106.6% lower in February than the same month in 2020 and 83.6% lower than the previous month (January 2021).

On the retail side, while consumer spending has migrated online to some extent, footfall in Limerick city centre averaged 40% of pre-Covid levels during the first three months of 2021. The number of occupied office units in Limerick was down 3.8% at the end of 2020.

Commenting on the wide-ranging report, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Michael Collins said the latest EY Economic Monitor speaks to Limerick’s resilience. "Between planned private and public sector investment and the expected recovery kick-off in the summer, I firmly believe that Limerick will rebound in the second half of this year.  Notwithstanding the obvious challenges that lie ahead, the most important thing I can say now is to urge the public to support local in the recovery. If we do that, we will accelerate our recovery even more,” he commented.

In his foreword in the report, Vincent Murray Director of Economic Development, Limerick City and County Council said the Limerick economy is projected to commence its recovery in mid-2021.

Mr Murray pointed to announcements by the Bon Secours and UPMC Hospital groups of new facilities that will create over 500 new jobs between them, investment and jobs by companies such as Regeneron, Transact Campus, 4Site, Screwfix, AMCS, Takumi and Kneat.

He also references the recent allocation of €116 million in funding under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund for key city centre projects including Cleeves Riverside Campus, the digital accelerator and a new city centre footbridge and the commencement of construction work on the Opera Centre site, public realm work on O’Connell Street, the International Rugby Experience and Bishop’s Quay.

“The vaccination programme and governments roadmap to reopen retail and hospitality now provides us with a pathway out of lockdown and this will restore our freedom to travel and enjoy our city and town centres. As Limerick reopens, it is important that we all shop local to support local business and jobs. While this monitor will show that, many of our key index figures have declined or started to stabilise over the last six months, we all look forward to a recovery in our economy," said Mr Murray.

In his economic overview for the latest Monitor, David McNamara, Director, EY Economic Advisory said: “The latest Economic Monitor illustrates the continued impact of Covid-19. Though the strength post-pandemic recovery is uncertain, periods in which restrictions were eased in 2020 can provide guidance as to the potential rate of recovery this summer.  A strong bounce back in consumer spending is projected for later in 2021 and into 2022, which will benefit the local and national economies, supported by the build-up in savings and the resilient profile of consumer confidence.

Click here to read or download the latest Limerick Economic Monitor.

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