Bad Brexit would cost North 10,800 jobs, researchers find

But beneficial deal would deliver 21,000 new jobs at least, says Ulster University

The Ulster University Economic Policy Centre has reduced its economic forecasts for the North. Photograph: Bloomberg

The Ulster University Economic Policy Centre has reduced its economic forecasts for the North. Photograph: Bloomberg

 

A bad Brexit could cost the North 10,800 jobs over the next decade if the most “pessimistic scenario” plays out, according to a new economic report by researchers at Ulster University. But a “beneficial” trade agreement would, the study finds, lead to the creation of at least 21,000 new jobs.

The Ulster University Economic Policy Centre (UUEPC) is projecting significant job losses if a Brexit deal does not materialise because of a significantly negative impact on trade which would lead to a fall in consumer confidence in the North.

This lack of confidence would then make consumers tighten their purse strings which would inevitably lead to job losses.

The UUEPC has also looked at how the North would fare if a “friendly agreement is reached between the UK and the EU” and in this instance it estimates that a “beneficial” trade agreement could deliver a boost to the North’s economy which could potentially lead to the creation of at least 21,000 new jobs and more by 2027.

The contrasting post-Brexit scenarios are examined in detail in the policy centre’s new Autumn 2018 outlook which was published on Thursday.

According to Jordan Buchanan, economist and forecaster at the UUEPC, the lack of clarity about the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU means economists have been forced to make various “assumptions” about what could happen after Brexit.

Downward revision

In the meantime, Mr Buchanan said, the centre has “revised downwards” its current economic outlook for Northern Ireland.

 “As we move closer to leaving the EU and with the increased risk of a ‘no deal’ alongside continued poor performance in productivity growth, we have modestly revised downwards our economic outlook for Northern Ireland,” he said. 

“Labour market growth may slow considerably in the short term but the economy should narrowly avoid a technical recession. Job creation and economic growth is then forecast to pick up in the medium term as greater clarity emerges. In total, over the next decade our ‘baseline’ forecasts almost 21,000 net new jobs but, reflecting greater uncertainty, that forecast ranges from an increase of 58,500 jobs in an optimistic scenario, to a potential decrease of 10,800 in our more pessimistic scenario,” Mr Buchanan added.