The Northern Ireland private sector experienced a strong finish last year, Ulster Bank data has suggested.
The bank surveys private sector activity monthly, in what is considered a reliable indicator of the economy.
December's survey saw overall business activity expanding at the fastest monthly rate in a year, while new orders accelerated to a 40-month high.
For 2017 as a whole, output, orders and employment growth increased at their fastest rate in three years.
The bank's chief economist, Richard Ramsey, said: "Local firms, most notably manufacturers, are benefiting from a pick-up in the global economy and the enhanced price-competitiveness resulting from sterling's weakness."
UK manufacturing as a whole saw significant growth in 2017.
The latest official figures showed manufacturing output is expanding at its fastest rate since early 2008 after recording a seventh consecutive month of growth in November.
Renewable energy projects, boats, aeroplanes and cars for export helped make output 3.9% higher in the three months to November than 2016.
Mr Ramsey said optimism among companies in Northern Ireland had strengthened to a three-month high as close to 35% of respondents predicted an increase in output over the coming year.
However he cautioned that a continuing squeeze on public spending would continue to act as a drag on the economy.
"Whilst the survey shows the Northern Ireland private sector moving into 2018 on a relatively strong footing, the same cannot be said for the public and third sectors, with government cuts impacting significantly on both."