ECONOMIC recovery is expected to gather pace next year with export led firms continuing to make most of the running, a report from Danske Bank has claimed.
The latest Quarterly Sectoral Forecast, published yesterday, says the best performing sectors will continue to be those operating in international markets and suggests that, while relatively weak growth will prevail in the second half of this year, the recovery proper will begin in 2014 as growth reaches as high as 1.7 per cent.
“Whilst there are some encouraging signs in the economy, particularly at a global and UK level, Northern Ireland’s economy still appears to be recuperating at a slower speed,” said Danske Bank chief economist Angela McGowan.
“This is due to the fact that, Northern Ireland is predominantly a small firm economy with lower productivity compared to many other regions and has relatively low levels of international trade.”
The report shows confidence levels improving, but stresses that it will take time for that confidence to translate into increased consumer spending and business investment. For now, most private sectors in Northern Ireland will experience relatively weak growth levels between 0.8 and 1.8 per cent in 2013.
The sector predicted to grow most this year is Information and Communications at 3.1 per cent. The forecasts suggest that this sector will see a further 1,700 jobs created between now and the end of 2015, a view supported by several recent jobs announcements in the sector such as Allstate NI and Vello Systems.
“The Information and Communication sector remains a shining star for Northern Ireland and global trends suggest that there is much more capacity for this sector to flourish and expand,” said Ms McGowan.
“However, it should be noted that the ICT sector still has a challenge when it comes to accessing good skills and this is a problem that will need to be addressed for the sector to reach its full potential locally.”
Both Agriculture and the Professional and Scientific sector are also predicted to perform well with estimated growth of 2.4 and 2 per cent respectively. The manufacturing sector should grow by an estimated 0.8 per cent in 2013, but as Europe emerges from recession this sector should see growth levels rise to over three per cent in 2014.