Economic Output Statistics

Date published: 13 September 2018

The economic output statistics were published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency

Labour Market and Economic Output Statistics
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Services Sector Output

Output in the services sector increased in real terms (by 1.3%) over the second quarter of 2018 (April to June), with output at its highest point since Quarter 2 (Q2) 2008. NI output in this sector is 1.0% lower than the series high from the past 10 years (Q2 2008) and 2.8% lower than the high point since the series began (Q4 2006). Growth over the year (3.4%) in the sector was above UK growth of 1.5% over the equivalent period (Q2 2017 to Q2 2018).

The quarterly and annual growth in the services sector was driven by growth in the Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; Accommodation and food service sector (0.3% over the quarter and 2.7% over the year), in the Transport, storage, information and communication sector (5.7% over the quarter and 11.9% over the year) and in the Other services sector (*1) (1.6% over the quarter). In the Business services and finance sector there was a 1.2% decline over the quarter and a 1.1% increase over the year.

In the longer term, when the most recent four quarters are compared to the previous four quarters, both the NI and UK services sectors reported annualised growth (of 1.9% and 1.5% respectively) to Quarter 2 2018.

Production Sector Output

Production output in NI increased over the second quarter (by 0.9%) and marginally over the year (by 0.1%). The UK production sector reported a fall in output over the quarter (0.9%) and an increase over the year (1.4%).

The change in the IOP is caused by quarterly increases in the Manufacturing sector (1.3%), the Water Supply, Sewerage and Waste Management (including Recycling) sector (2.1%), and the Mining and Quarrying Sector (15.1%). These improvements were offset by a 3.4% fall in the Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply sector. The increase in the Manufacturing sector itself contained quarterly sub sector falls, but rises in the indices for Manufacture of Food, Beverages and Tobacco products (5.9%); Manufacture of Basic Metals & Fabricated Metal Products (7.3%); and Manufacturing of Machinery and Equipment not elsewhere classified (1.3%).

Looking at the longer term trend, when the most recent four quarters are compared to the previous four quarters, output in the NI production sector fell by 4.1%, with the whole of the UK reporting growth on this basis of 2.0%. This is largely driven by a large fall in the NI manufacturing sub sector of Food, Beverages and Tobacco, although we continue to see recovery in this sector from the previous quarter.


The services sector has continued to grow with annual growth recorded for the last fifteen reporting periods. This is in contrast to the production sector where there has been decreases reported in seven of the last ten quarters back to the beginning of 2016.

Output in the services sector increased in real terms (by 1.3%) over the second quarter of 2018, with output at its highest point since Q2 2008. Production sector output increased in real terms (by 0.9% over the quarter) to its highest point since Q1 2017.

Upcoming Releases

The Labour Force Survey Annual Report providing Local Government District data and updates to Programme for Government indicators will be published on 25 September and the Business Register and Employment Survey will be published on the 27 September. The next Labour Market Report will be published on 16 October.

The Labour Market User Group will take place on 26 September. It will provide an overview of publications and planned developments and give users of Labour Market Statistics an opportunity to feedback on outputs.

The NI Composite Economic Index and Quarterly Construction Enquiry are scheduled for publication on 11 October.

The Index of Production and Index of Services reports for quarter 3 2018 will be published on 13 December.

(*1) This sector includes other activities not covered elsewhere - education, health & social work, arts, entertainment and recreation and other services.

Notes to editors: 

1. This report will be of interest to policy makers, public bodies, the business community, banks, economic commentators, academics and the general public with an interest in the local economy.

2. The detailed statistical bulletins are available at: Index Services and Index Production

Further information and tables from each of the data sources are also available at these locations.

3. Feedback is welcomed and should be addressed to:

Responsible statistician:

Alan Anderson,

Economic & Labour Market Statistics Branch (ELMS), or Tel: 028 9052 9494.

6. For media enquiries, please contact the Department for the Economy Press Office on 028 9052 9604. Out of office hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 9037 8110 and your call will be returned.

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