Growth Forecast For N.Ireland

29 September 2014

Rising employment levels and an uplift in the housing market are helping to strengthen Northern Ireland’s economic recovery, according to the latest report from Danske Bank.

The Quarterly Sectoral Forecast report reveals that local economic growth should reach 2.6 per cent in 2014 (up from 2.4 per cent in previous forecast) and 2.3 per cent in 2015.

Increasing employment levels, a recovery in the local housing market, improved confidence, better credit conditions and the recent rebound in the neighbouring economies of Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland are all cited as reasons for the positive outlook .

Commenting on the report, Danske Bank Chief Economist Angela McGowan said:

“It is a case of ‘so far so good’ for the local economy in 2014. In particular the recent improvements in the housing market have provided a welcome lift for the construction sector and helped to boost consumer confidence. Over the year to Quarter 2 we saw new jobs being created in a variety of sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, construction and services, indicating that the recovery is now much more wide-spread acrossNorthern Ireland’s private sector”.

Administration & Support Services and Construction are forecast to experience the fastest rates of growth in 2014, each expanding by 5.1 per cent. Strong GVA gains, well in excess of the 2.6 per cent average for the economy, are also expected across a number of other sectors including Professional Services (5%), ICT (4.4%) and Manufacturing (4.3%) in 2014.

However, on the downside, the forecasts for Health, Education and Public Administration are well below the overall average at 1.3 per cent, 0.7 per cent and -0.4 per cent respectively.

Ms McGowan added: “There is a good story to tell around the private side of our economy as the vast majority of sectors are now expanding again. The overall challenge is of course to grow the private sector significantly more – but that takes time.

“Regardless of the political environment, policy makers inNorthern Irelandmust stay close to the economic script in terms of focusing on skills, investment, enterprise and infrastructure to ensure that Northern Ireland’s economy can withstand any political storm.”

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