The economic disruption wrought by COVID-19 has been widespread across all sectors of the economy and all regions of the country. Using the latest quarterly national accounts data from the CSO, the Arts and Entertainment sector was identified as the sector most affected by COVID-19 related disruption, followed by the Professional, Admin and Support Services Sector and the Construction Sector. The areas of the economy that fared best included the Information and Communications Sector and the Manufacturing Sector, which tend to be dominated by foreign owned multinational enterprises.
The resilience of the multinational sector and its importance to the Irish economy is highlighted by the fact employment in IDA Ireland client companies actually increased by almost 9,000 in the year to September 2020, highlighting the resilience of these multinational enterprises and the important role these firms play in the Irish economy.
Many sectors of the domestic economy have been particularly hard hit with widespread job losses. In January 2021, the sector with the highest levels of people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment was Accommodation and Food Service Activities, followed by Wholesale and Retail Trade.
The domestic sector, and employment within the sector, has been most impacted by COVID-19 disruption. The Government has introduced the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and the Employment Wage Support Scheme (EWSS) to aid employees.
To help businesses to adjust to the challenges of the pandemic and ensure they are in a position to benefit once the economy re-opens, several schemes have been introduced, including loans, grants, vouchers, training and mentoring programmes. Small and medium firms are the biggest source of employment in the Irish economy and the Government will continue to support these businesses as they will be a crucial element of Ireland's recovery.