Post War Years (1945 - 1955)
The impact of the war on the Northern Ireland economy and labour market was significant.
During the 1939- 1945 conflict people had jobs that related to the needs of a wartime economy and consequently the number of people at work increased, greatly reducing the pre-war level of unemployment.
Even in the aftermath of 1945, fears of a sharp downturn in the economy proved misplaced.
The Dawn of Globalisation (1955 – 1969)
From the early 1950’s into the 1960’s, the local economy went through major changes: losing jobs in traditional industries and gaining jobs through new investments.
It was during this period that farming incomes were supported by the UK system of ‘deficiency payments’ which gave Northern Ireland farmers an advantage over farmers from the Republic of Ireland.
Violence, emigration, the growth of public sector (1970 – 1994)
The Northern Ireland economy, after about 1970, was increasingly affected by the consequences of the impact of political instability and related violence, most siginificantly when the regional Government was suspended and political authority transferred to Westminster.
Political stability, rise of IT and the retail giants (1990’s into 2009)
During this period there has been a restoration, slowly at first, of a more normal economy with less disruption linked to instability in political activity and a higher degree of business confidence.
Key features have included a reversal of the usual pattern of net emigration.
Northern Ireland, for the first time in a century, attracted an annual immigration flow of new residents, many from other EU countries, partly attracted by unfilled employment opportunities.
Looking Ahead - Postscript in 2009
During 2008-9 and probably into 2010, the economic expansion of earlier in the decade has been reversed. Unemployment is increasing, real incomes are lower and a greater degree of uncertainty is now in evidence. House prices have fallen sharply.
Whilst there is uncertainty about the depth of the recession in 2009 and the speed of the upturn in 2010 and beyond, there is less uncertainty about the changes that are likely in the Northern Ireland economy.