Confidence in the Irish Economy jumps to 66% at close of 2022

Cork Chamber has published its latest Economic Trends, supported by Permanent TSB. Cork Chamber members shared their experiences through the most recent business quarter Q4 2022, their outlook for the first quarter of 2023 and views on the ongoing business impact of rising energy costs and inflation to track business sentiment across quarter 3 and quarter 4 2022.

The Q4 2022 survey found:

—  66% of businesses are confident in the Irish economy heading into Q1 2023 (47% in Q3)

—  65% report a specialist skills shortage as a top barrier to filling open vacancies

—  73% of respondents reported being ‘concerned’ or ‘very concerned’ about the impact of rising energy costs moving into Q1 2023 (92% in Q3 2022)

—  50% of businesses say government supports are not sufficient to cushion the rising cost of energy

—  82% of respondents indicated that energy costs were as high as originally estimated for

Commenting on the findings, Ronan Murray, President of Cork Chamber stated that; “confidence in the Irish economy rose to 66% in Q4 of 2022. This is a marked increase from Q3 when only 47% of businesses expressed confidence in the Irish economy heading into Q4 2022. Falling confidence had been part of a consistent trend in 2022. This up tick in business sentiment on the wider economy is a very positive signal heading into a challenging 2023.”

In reference to the findings on the rising energy costs Mr Murray said; “although the level of business concern has tempered, it remains high with almost three quarters of businesses still concerned about the rising energy costs. This, coupled with the fact that 50% of our business respondents report that government supports may not be sufficient in cushioning the rising cost of energy is a threat to the buoyancy of our economy. While the business support schemes introduced by government to address rising energy costs were welcome, they will need to be continually reviewed to ensure businesses and investors remain confident in the economy through 2023.’’

Auriol Kelly, Business Banking Manager at Permanent TSB commented, ‘’It is encouraging to see that despite the challenges within the external operating environment, 94% of respondents reported confidence in their individual business at the end of the year. Although energy costs continue to be a challenge, it is reassuring to see respondents taking a proactive approach, with 21% identifying energy efficiency as a priority action to combat rising prices (24% in Q3 2022), closely followed by improving productivity and reducing overheads (19% respectively).’’

President of Cork Chamber Ronan Murray concluded, ‘the fourth quarter shows that optimism endures with the fact that 40% of companies increased employee numbers in Q4 2022 and 57% report open job vacancies. However, 64% reported difficulty hiring for unfilled roles in Q4 2022. Barriers to filling vacancies such as a specialist skills shortage (65%) and housing (14%) need to be addressed. We are keen to continue to work closely with government to address the any bottlenecks that exist, which could constrain business expansion and investment.”

View the full results of the Q4 2022 Economic Trends here: