The construction, manufacturing and hospitality industries across northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have been worst hit by the recession, according to an authoritative survey.
The latest InterTradeIreland Quarterly Business Monitor reports that action taken to boost competitiveness will be the key to surviving the downturn in reasonable shape.
Says spokesman Aidan Gough: “The emerging picture points to a U-shaped recession - the question now is how wide the trough will be?”
“Restoring competitiveness is the biggest challenge facing firms, and they are currently seeking to reduce costs across the board in order to be able to take advantage of any upswing.”
That is particularly the case in the south, which the survey confirms is suffering more than the north, with companies reporting a drop in turnover of 72% compared with 44%.
Gough added: “Almost half of companies have revised targets downwards, 56% have renegotiated professional or supplier costs, and 58% have sought to reduce staff costs in the last quarter.
“In addition, just over two in five businesses (41%) overall have reduced their prices - a much higher proportion in the south (60%) than in the north (22%).”