Northern Ireland’s economy ‘has been in recovery for a year’

The Northern Ireland economy has been in recovery mode for a full year, a survey of businesses has suggested.

The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) is a monthly survey of a panel of firms that tracks indicators such as new orders, employment and exports.

It indicated a return to growth in June 2013 and has now remained positive for 12 months in a row.

The PMI data is produced by Ulster Bank.


Richard Ramsey, the bank’s chief economist in Northern Ireland, said the first six months of 2014 has been the strongest start to any year since the PMI began 12 years ago.

However, he cautioned that the robust growth rates will “moderate” the longer the recovery progresses and as the economy normalises.

Northern Ireland suffered a deeper and longer lasting recession than other parts of the UK and recent growth figures to an extent reflect a “catch-up” effect.

Mr Ramsey said the rate of growth in June had not been as rapid as in previous months but “the pace of business activity and rates of job creation amongst local firms remain at very robust levels”.

He said a recovery in the Republic of Ireland, which is Northern Ireland’s biggest export market, is now being felt.

‘Positive figures’

“One recurring theme amongst respondents in recent months, including the June survey, has been the increasing volume of new work stemming from the Republic of Ireland.

“This highlights the positive economic spill-over for Northern Ireland as the recovery in its largest export market continues to gain traction.”

He added that the positive figures were tempered by the rise in Sterling against the Euro, which makes exports less competitive.

The construction sector has seen the fasted rates of growth in the PMI in recent months.

Mr Ramsey said this was largely to do with firms winning work outside of Northern Ireland rather than as a result of a significant pickup in activity locally.

Official figures showing economic performance for Northern Ireland in the first quarter of 2014 are due to be published later this week.

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