Services sector buoys stumbling economic growth

Danske economist Conor Lambe
Danske economist Conor Lambe

The Northern Ireland economy continued to expand in the first quarter of 2017 but at a lower level than the end of laet year.

Figures contained in the NI Composite Economic Index from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency show that economic output increased by 0.3% over the quarter driven an increase in the Services sector.

In contrast, output in the construction sector fell, while the production sector and the Public sector jobs index remained relatively static.

Overall, the index showed the province with an annual growth rate similar to the UK but below the Irish Republic.

Commenting on the latest report, Danske Bank economist Conor Lambe said: “While it is obviously good news that the economy is growing, there are still a number of challenges on the horizon including the continuing squeeze on consumers, the impact of Brexit-related uncertainty on business investment and the lack of a local Executive.”

Ulster Bank NI chief economist Richard Ramsey said that despite the ongoing expansion in the economy, it should be noted that Northern Ireland’s recovery should still be viewed as “a work in progress”.