Northern Ireland

NI economy records highest quarterly growth since 2013

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The Northern Ireland economy grew by 1% in the second quarter of 2016, according to the most up-to-date official figures.

The statistics are measured using the Northern Ireland Composite Economic Index (NICEI), which is roughly equivalent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Although the measures are not produced on a fully equivalent basis, it suggests the NI economy grew slightly faster than the UK average. UK GDP expanded by 0.7% in that period.

However there is continuing evidence that the annual average rate of growth in the local economy lags behind that of the UK.

Northern Ireland's performance was the strongest quarterly growth since Quarter 3 2013 when there was 1.2% growth.

Growth was driven by the private sector where output increased by 1.6% in real terms over the quarter.

The services sector, which is the dominant part of the economy, was the main growth component contributing 0.9 percentage points. The production sector contributed 0.1 percentage points.

The public sector contribution, which is measured by jobs, fell by 0.2 percentage points during the period.

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Struggles for construction remain

Meanwhile, separate official figures suggest the patchy recovery in the construction sector is continuing, contributing 0.3 percentage points to the figures.

The NI construction bulletin showed the total volume of output in Northern Ireland in the second quarter of 2016 was up by 4.1% over the quarter and 3.3% over the year.

The increase was accounted for by a 7.4% increase in new work, which was offset by a 5% decrease in repair and maintenance.

Across the different sectors infrastructure work was up by 8.5% over the quarter, while housing output was down by 2.7%

The figures only cover work in Northern Ireland and so do not account for the output of Northern Ireland-based firms operating elsewhere in the UK, where Northern Ireland's largest construction firms do the bulk of their work.

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