THE move to Level 5 restrictions has seen the domestic economy slump further, with many locally owned businesses having to close their doors again.
While many people have been left out of work, at least temporarily, there is a more positive dimension to the local employment situation, with a number of multinational companies in Clare and the wider region trying to find new staff.
This week saw an announcement by US company exida that it will create 25 new jobs in Shannon , while Joe Robbins of Careerwise Recruitment said the Pharma/Life Sciences/ Medical Devices sector is booming in the mid-west. “If you consider so many companies are working on a vaccine, they’ve continued to hire, and a lot of them are growing. They’re hiring from a small pool of people, and if you’re a quality engineer or a manufacturing engineer, or a chemist or a scientist, you’ve a lot of choice. I’m talking about the mid-west but in Cork and Dublin it’d be the same.
“Regeneron is a good example. It has transferred production from America to Ireland, to get ready for vaccine production. Consequently they’re hiring 400 people. There are lots of things happening in this space.”
At the time that Covid-19 struck, the Irish economy was as strong as it had been for several years, with virtually full employment. While Covid-19 has been a setback of unprecedented levels, Mr Robbins says that there are a lot of grounds for optimism about what 2021 could hold.
“Think of the macro picture for a minute. We’re going to have the American election over in a couple of weeks, so that’ll give a new impetus and a new confidence. I think Brexit will get sorted in some shape or form and that’ll give confidence. There are several companies looking at a vaccine, you’ll probably have companies coming out with vaccines, if not by the end of this year, then early next year.
“A combination of all of those things, together with a pent up demand, if all of those things happen, from the first quarter of next year onwards we could have a real boom. I’m talking about the medical device/pharma, biological type companies really.
“Once the multinational sector booms, the domestic side, hopefully once there’s a vaccine, will start coming back again. Things like retail, hospitality, hotels,” he added.
America goes to the polls next week, and he says that a number of US companies have delayed making decisions about further investment until the outcome is known. “There are a number of companies ready to make investments and ready to make decisions and they’re just holding off until that’s finalised. It has been very hostile and very polarised, America is very polarised. Hopefully we’ll get a solid result and investment will continue.
“Trump has been talking for a number of years about bringing American companies back, whereas Biden is much more liberal on that front, and with Irish ancestry I don’t think he’ll be pushing that agenda,” Mr Robbins concluded.