Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland economy 'continuing to grow'

Retail Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The retail and hospitality sector accounted for most of the growth.

The Northern Ireland economy continued to grow in the second quarter of 2019, official figures suggest.

The services sector, which is the largest part of the economy, grew by 0.8% compared to the previous quarter.

Compared to the same time in 2018, services output was up by 0.5%.

Northern Ireland services output is now at its highest point in 10 years, but is still 2.6% lower than its pre-crash peak in 2006.

The retail and hospitality sector, which is the largest services subsector, accounted for most of the growth.

It was up by 2.2% over the quarter and 1.7% over the year.

The production sector, which is dominated by manufacturing, also saw strong growth, up 1.2% over the quarter and 3.6% over the year.

In the first quarter of the year manufacturing output had been boosted by companies increasing output ahead of the original Brexit date.

Across the UK as a whole manufacturing output then slipped back in the second quarter.

But that trend has not been repeated in Northern Ireland.

The two largest manufacturing sectors, engineering and food, grew by almost 2% over the quarter.

Earlier this week, the Ulster Bank said its monthly survey data suggested that the Northern Ireland economy "has entered or is entering recession".

The bank's data is more recent, running up until August, whereas the official data covers the quarter from April to June.

Ulster Bank chief economist Richard Ramsey said Brexit-related uncertainty had underpinned the fall in business activity across all sectors.