Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland economy slows down as private sector shrinks

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Image caption New economic figures show Northern Ireland is lagging behind the rest of the UK

The Northern Ireland economy slowed down last year because of a contraction in the private sector.

Official figures show the private sector between July and September of 2019 was 0.3% smaller than earlier in the year.

Northern Ireland's economy is also continuing to lag behind the rest of the UK.

Output fell 0.1% over the quarter to September but was 0.3% higher than the same time in 2018.

The information comes from the Northern Ireland Composite Economic Index, published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, which is the equivalent of GDP in Northern Ireland.

Lagging behind

The UK's GDP grew at a faster rate than Northern Ireland, increasing 0.4% over the quarter and 1.1% in the 12 months to September 2019.

The construction sector increased by 3.9% between March and September, driven by a 10% increase in repair and maintenance work.

There was a 19% increase in infrastructure and a 1.8% fall in housing compared with earlier in the year.

Figures show 5,900 business were created in 2018 - down on 2017 and the first fall since 2011.

Less businesses

Northern Ireland has the lowest number of new businesses being registered of any UK region.

There was a fall in the number of businesses being created in construction and property.

Causeway Coast and Glens, Mid Ulster and Fermanagh and Omagh saw the biggest falls.

Only Derry City and Strabane saw an increase in the number of businesses being registered.

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