Executive Director, Membership and Sectors, Ibec
While Ireland will likely avoid a recession, households and businesses will feel the slowdown in many of our major trading partners.
The international economy is in a place of significant challenge. High rates of inflation, rising interest rates, accelerated monetary tightening and volatile energy markets are all softening economic forecasts.
Results of a new, major survey from Ibec show a drop in confidence in the manufacturing sector for the next six months compared with the same period last year. It identifies the cost of energy as the number one challenge for manufacturing businesses in Ireland, followed by supply chain issues and access to labour.
The survey shows that the manufacturing environment in Ireland is felt to have deteriorated considerably between 2021 and 2022. Among respondents, the ‘very good’ and ‘good’ ratings have gone from 89% to 53%.
Manufacturing, as diverse and resilient as it is, will require support from the Government to keep the sector competitive and thriving.
Commenting on the report, Sharon Higgins, Executive Director, Membership and Sectors says: “This report spotlights our members’ priorities over the next period. We know confidence is down significantly, which is understandable given the current issues; although, it is interesting that our members are more bullish about their own businesses than the wider economy, most notably in the medtech and biopharma sectors. Several (65%) business leaders — mostly from the pharma and medtech sectors — continue to be more optimistic about the prospects for their own businesses, currently.”
Focus on strengths and improvement
Manufacturing, as diverse and resilient as it is, will require support from the Government to keep the sector competitive and thriving. Ireland must anticipate this by never staying still ourselves; as well as nurturing our business-friendly environment, we also need to take care of the social infrastructure that is key to being a great place to live and work. This includes addressing housing, broadband and transport infrastructure. We also know how important it is to focus on education so that access to talent remains one of our key strengths.