Aiken PR

The Briefing

Northern Ireland Composite Economic Index Quarter 1 2018 published

by Aiken PR

19/07/2018

Key findings from The Northern Ireland Composite Economic Index, a quarterly measure of the performance of the Northern Ireland economy based on available official statistics.

The Northern Ireland Composite Economic Index (NICEI) is a quarterly measure of the performance of the Northern Ireland economy based on available official statistics.

Key findings:

NI Economic output decreased over the quarter and the year

  • The NICEI results indicate that NI economic activity was estimated to have decreased by 0.3% in real terms between Quarter 4 (October–December) 2017 and Quarter 1 (January–March) 2018. The index decreased by 1.0% over the year from Quarter 1 2017 to Quarter 1 2018.
  • The decrease in the NICEI over the latest quarter (0.3%) was driven by decreases in the Construction sector (a negative contribution of 0.6 percentage points) and the Public Sector (a negative contribution of 0.1 percentage points). These decreases were partially offset by an increase in the Services sector (a positive contribution of 0.4 percentage points).

NI output reduced over the year and remains behind the UK

  • NI output decreased by 1.0% over the year to Q1 2018, whilst UK GDP grew by 1.2% over the same period.

Reduction in Northern Ireland’s annualised rate of growth to Q1 2018

  • When the trend in the index is considered over the last three years there is evidence that the rate of growth has slowed. Annualised average growth over the last four quarters to Quarter 1 2018 compared to the previous four quarters, remained flat (0.0%).  This was lower than the annual growth over the previous two year period (to Quarter 1 2017) which was 2.0%.

Slowdown in private and public sector growth

  • Private sector output fell by 0.3% between Quarter 4 (October–December) 2017 and Quarter 1 (January–March) 2018 and fell by 1.2% over the year (Quarter 1 2017 to Quarter 1 2018). The Public sector jobs index decreased by 0.3% over the quarter and by 0.1% over the year.
  • For the Private sector, average growth for the four quarters to Quarter 1 2018 compared to the previous four quarters remained constant (0.0%). Whilst the Public sector (employee jobs) index increased by 0.2% over the same period.

Commentary

  • Growth in the UK economy was ahead of NI over the quarter and the year. NI output decreased by 0.3% over the quarter and 1.0% over the year, compared to an increase in GDP for the UK of 0.2% over the quarter and 1.2% over the year. 
  • Over the last two years, growth in NI output remained flat (0.0%), compared to UK growth of 1.5%. This was a fall on the NI growth rate compared to the two years to Q1 2017 (2.0%). NI’s Private sector output fell over the quarter by 0.3%, and over the year by 1.2%.
  • The NICEI is currently 6.3% below the maximum value recorded in Quarter 4 2006. In Quarter 1 2018, UK GDP was estimated to have been 10.5% higher than its pre–economic downturn peak of Quarter 1 2008. The latest NICEI results continue to show that the UK has had a shorter downturn and a faster recovery than NI.

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