Council Publishes Assessment of Covid-19 Impact on Kerry Economy

Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council, Cllr, Niall Kelleher and Chief Executive of Kerry County Council, Moira Murrell are basing discussions around the findings of a comprehensive assessment of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the county.

Kerry County Council has published a comprehensive assessment of the anticipated economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on County Kerry.

It shows: an anticipated €1bn impact on Kerry incomes in 2020; Research and data will inform recovery policies and initiatives with all sectors working with the council on economic recovery.

Recovery in The Months and Years Ahead

The analysis, compiled by an independent economist, James Dorgan, and with input from Kerry Tourism Industry Federation, IT Tralee, Kerry Chambers Network and the wider business sector in the county, identifies the challenges posed by the current public health emergency and will inform local actions and policies to achieve economic recovery locally in the months and years ahead.

Drawing on a wide range of economic, demographic and employment research, The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on the Economy of County Kerry finds that the current crisis is having, and will continue to have, significant economic consequences in Kerry, particularly given its exposure in the tourism sector.

Drawing on existing and new research, the report finds that the impact will equate to a loss to the Kerry economy of €1billion in income in 2020, with approximately 40% of that loss of income being borne by the tourism industry. Other elements of the research include:

Tourism and related industries will see a €400m drop – amounting to 70% in income impact this year, the equivalent of nearly 10% of total estimated Kerry household incomes;

Kerry has the highest relative dependence on tourism income per capita by county;

Of the estimated 69,000 people in the labour force in Kerry, the largest employment cohort is in the retail and wholesale trade followed by hotels and restaurants;

Up to 93% of active enterprises in Kerry are micro-enterprises and employ less than 10 people

Some 36% of ‘at work’ residents in Kerry were in receipt of the Government Pandemic Unemployment Payment in the middle of May 2020. When added to the numbers on the Wage Subsidy Scheme and the Live Register, this equates to two-thirds of ‘at work’ residents in the county;

An assessment of the likely impact in sectors including agriculture, retail, manufacturing and construction based on national and local projections.

Gauging The Expected Impact

The research has been supplemented by surveys of businesses undertaken by Kerry County Council and the Kerry Tourism Industry Federation recently to gauge the expected impact across many economic sectors.

Among the findings were that half of businesses in the county are anticipating a decline of between 50% and 75% in their incomes over the next twelve months.

A Critical Piece of Research

Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council, Cllr, Niall Kelleher, said the report is a critical piece of research which will inform initiatives which will support the reopening of the economy locally:

“There is no doubting the economic impact of COVID-19 in Kerry but it is vital that we quantify that in this way.

“The figures are stark and indicate the challenge we all face to restore economic activity in the county but having this data will help us to target supports, investment and promotional initiatives to where they are needed most,” said Cllr. Kelleher.

Findings to Shape Discussions

Chief Executive of Kerry County Council, Moira Murrell said the report is being considered closely by council management and elected members.

“It will also shape the continuing discussion of a new business leaders and interests group in the county and Kerry County Council’s own economic recovery team and will guide a series of actions and initiatives which will be rolled over the coming weeks and months.

Research Available to All

“This research will be made available to all sectors in the economy to help guide their approaches,” Ms Murrell continued.

“A new group including business leaders and local agencies has already begun the discussion on the initiatives which will be taken in the coming weeks and months to deal with the impact of the crisis on local businesses as well as leading out on the marketing and promotion of the county as normal economic activity resumes.

Series Of Practical Supports

“We have already activated a series of practical supports for businesses in the county through the Local Enterprise Office and our Economic Development Unit.

“There is also important work being done in the tourism sector and other industries which complements that.

“This research which we are publishing today will inform efforts to reopen the Kerry economy into the future,” said Ms Murrell in conclusion.