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Covid-19 results in worst UK depression in living memory

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Stormont Economy Minister Diane Dodds

Stormont Economy Minister Diane Dodds

Stormont Economy Minister Diane Dodds

The UK is experiencing the worst economic depression in living memory.

UK GDP figures showed the economy contracted by more than a fifth in the first full month of lockdown as shops and factories closed and workers were sent home.

Stormont Economy Minister Diane Dodds has said the Northern Ireland economy is running at around 30% below its usual capacity as a result of the hit from Covid-19 and the shutdown.

The Office for National Statistics said that UK economic activity was down by 20.4% in April.

That is the largest drop in a single month since records began in 1997.

It's also worse than many experts were forecasting.

In a written Assembly answer on the impact of Covid-19 on the local economy, Mrs Dodds warned that young people and low earners were being hardest hit by the downturn.

"There is every chance that the young and the lowest earners will be hardest hit," she said.

"That is the early indication from this recession, and it would be a trait of many recessions of the past."

Dr Esmond Birnie, senior economist at Ulster University Business School, said there was no real surprise in the scale of April's economic contraction.

He added: "This sort of crash has not been seen in living memory, though the UK depression of 1920-21 may have been of a similar magnitude."

While there were no up-to-date statistics for here, he said the decline UK-wide was hitting sectors like retail, tourism and aerospace.

"The worrying consideration for NI is that those sectors represent a larger share of our regional economy," he pointed out.

Belfast Telegraph