A Northern Ireland economist estimates that Northern Ireland suffered the biggest economic contraction out of all G20 countries during 2020.
Dr Esmond Birnie, senior economist at Ulster University and Senior Research Fellow at Pivotal NI Policy Forum, estimates that NI suffered a GDP decline of 12% comparative to the UK-wide fall of 9.9%.
This puts it at the bottom of the 19 largest economies in the world in terms of size of GDP.
GDP is the measure of the size and health of a country's economy over a specific period of time and takes into account the total value of goods and services (output) produced, the population's income and spend.
His calculation comes just one day after the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the UK economy contracted by 9.9%.
Dr Birnie said that while it is likely NI followed a broadly similar pattern to the UK, "given that Covid restrictions applied for most of the final 10 or so weeks of 2020 and given that some of the NI restrictions were probably more severe than the UK average (and given also the relatively larger percentage size of the retail sector in NI) it is possible that NI experienced a further output dip during October-December".
He said reduced NI sales to GB and the Republic of Ireland markets would have contributed to a further decline of "about 3% of GDP. So, NI's GDP in 2020 may be about 11-12% down on the 2019 level".
That figure puts NI at the bottom of the 19 G20 countries and Ireland, followed by Spain with 11.9% and then the UK (9.9%).
China is at the top of the table with a GDP growth of 1.8% in 2020.
Dr Birnie added the Republic of Ireland to the table to reference the difference between the NI economy and that of the economy in the South, which saw GDP contract by 3.2% last year.
"Notwithstanding some doubt about the reliability of all the data, the conclusion is obvious and disturbing, NI's performance was very much at the bottom of the table," he added.
"We cannot take any comfort from an argument that perhaps we had a more restricted lockdown which helped produce a more severe recession but also saved more lives. NI's comparative international record in terms of Covid health during 2020 was also relatively poor.
"Strikingly, NI's cumulative total Covid death rate (those with a positive test, per million of population) as of December 21 was about twice that in Canada, Israel, Germany and Slovakia. Three times that in Latvia. Four times that in Denmark and Estonia. Seven times that in Finland and Iceland. Eight times that in Norway. 17 times that in Australia and 29 times that in Japan. 130 times that in New Zealand and Singapore and roughly 2,000 times that in Taiwan.
"One glimmer of hope for both health and wealth in NI, the two are ultimately linked, so far only two other countries (Israel and UAE) have exceeded the UK's vaccination rate for Covid. Let's maintain that achievement to make 2021 a better year," he said.