Economic output statistics

Date published: 17 March 2023

The economic output statistics have been published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

Young people not in education, employment or training (NEET)
Young people not in education, employment or training (NEET)

Commentary:

  • Output in the services sector increased by 1.0% in real terms over the fourth quarter of 2022 and by 1.8% over the year.
  • NI services output is at a series high.
  • Production sector output decreased by 0.6% over the fourth quarter of 2022 and by 1.0% over the year.
  • Retail output in NI saw an increase of 2.2% in Quarter 4 2022 and a decrease of 2.3% over the year.
  • When comparing current output with the pre-Coronavirus pandemic levels seen in Quarter 4 2019, Northern Ireland production output is 4.5% above its pre-pandemic level and Northern Ireland service output is 6.2% above its pre-pandemic level. In contrast, Northern Ireland Retail output remains 4.5% below its pre-pandemic level seen in Quarter 4 2019.

Services Sector Output:

  • The NI IOS increased by 1.0% over the quarter (October – December), increased by 1.8% over the year and by 4.4% on a rolling four quarters basis. The UK IOS remained unchanged over the quarter, increased by 1.2% over the year and by 5.5% on a rolling four quarters basis.
  • NI services output in Quarter 4 2022 is at a series high.
  • NI services output is now 6.2% above the pre-Coronavirus pandemic level seen in Quarter 4 2019 while UK services output remains 1.1% below its pre-pandemic level. 
  • The 1.0% quarterly increase in NI services output was driven by increases in three of the four subsectors: the Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; accommodation and food service sector (0.9%); the Business services and finance sector (1.0%); and the Other services sector (1.6%). There was a decrease in the Transport, storage, information and communications sector (2.0%).
  • The 1.8% increase seen in NI services output over the year was driven by increases in three of the four subsectors, with increases in the Business services and finance sector (5.0%); the Other services sector (13.6%); and the Transport, storage, information and communications sector (3.9%). The Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; accommodation and food service sector decreased over the year (1.1%). Note that in Quarter 4 2021 restrictions on businesses due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic were still in place until halfway through the quarter.
  • The 4.4% increase seen in NI services output when the current four quarters are compared to the previous four quarters was driven by all four subsectors, with increases in the Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; accommodation and food service sector (0.2%); the Business services and finance sector (5.6%); the Other services sector (26.0%); and the Transport, storage, information and communications sector (10.0%).

Production Sector Output:

  • The NI IOP decreased by 0.6% over the quarter (October – December) and by 1.0% over the year.
  • When looking at the revised series, NI IOP has shown a decrease in three of the last 4 quarters.
  • The UK IOP reported decreases of 0.2% over the quarter and 4.2% over the year.  
  • The NI IOP is 4.5% above its pre-Coronavirus pandemic level seen in Quarter 4 2019, and the UK is 1.4% above its Quarter 4 2019 level.
  • The quarterly decrease in NI production output of 0.6% was driven by decreases in Manufacturing (0.1%), Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (9.5%) and Mining and quarrying sector (7.4%). This was offset by an increase in Water supply, sewerage and waste management (Inc. recycling) (1.7%).
  • The quarterly decrease in Manufacturing output (0.1%) was driven by decreases in the Total other manufacturing (3.4%) and Manufacture of chemical and pharmaceutical products (6.3%) subsectors. These decreases were offset by increases in four of the six main subsectors: Engineering and allied industries (3.7%); Food products, beverages and tobacco (1.5%); Basic metals and fabricated metal products (1.7%); Manufacture of textiles, leather and related products (1.6%).
  • Over the year the increase in Manufacturing (0.9%) was driven by increases in three of the six main subsectors: Engineering and allied industries (19.9%); Food products, beverages and tobacco (8.3%); and Manufacture of textiles, leather and related products (2.5%). These annual increases were partially offset by decreases in Total other manufacturing (8.0%); Basic metals and fabricated metal products (1.7%); and Manufacture of chemical and pharmaceutical products (36.7%) subsectors.
  • 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 increased by 2.6%, with the UK reporting a decrease of 3.6%. 

Retail Sector Output:

  • Retail output in NI saw an increase of 2.2% in Quarter 4 2022 and a decrease of 2.3% over the year.
  • GB RSI output experienced a decrease of 1.1% over the quarter and a decrease of 6.1% over the year.
  • NI RSI output in Quarter 4 2022 is 7.6% below the series high seen in Quarter 3 2020 and 3.6% higher than the series low (Quarter 1 2021).
  • NI RSI output remains 4.5% below the pre-Coronavirus pandemic level seen in Quarter 4 2019 while GB RSI output is now 14.1% below its Quarter 4 2019 level.
  • The retail sales sector refers to SIC 47 (Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles) and is a subset of the Index of Services (IOS).

Upcoming Releases:

  • The NI Composite Economic Index and Quarterly Construction Enquiry are scheduled for publication on 30th March 2023.
  • The next Labour Market Report will be published on 18th April 2023.
  • The Index of Production, Index of Services and Retail Sales Index reports for Quarter 1 2023 will be published on 15th June 2023.

Notes to editors: 

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

2.  The RSI has been released as an experimental statistic, which means that it is in a testing and development phase. NISRA will continue to review the methodology and may make changes to it in the future.

3.  The detailed statistical bulletins are available at Index of Services, Index of Production and Retail Sales Index. Further information and tables from each of the data sources are also available at these locations.

4.  To keep up to date with news from the Department for the Economy you can follow us on the following social media channels:

5.  Feedback is welcomed and should be addressed to: Responsible statistician: Carole-Ann McKay, Economic & Labour Market Statistics Branch (ELMS), Carole-ann.mckay@nisra.gov.uk or Tel: 028 9025 5119.

6.  Follow NISRA on Twitter - @NISRA

7.  For media enquiries contact the Department for the Economy Press Office at pressoffice@economy-ni.gov.uk .

8.  The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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