Economic output statistics

Date published: 18 June 2020

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

Economic output statistics
Economic output statistics

Commentary

  • Output in the services sector decreased by 4.2 per cent in real terms over the first quarter of 2020. Production sector output decreased in real terms by 3.2  per cent  over the quarter.
  • This release captures the first direct effects of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on the NI economy. The first government advice on social distancing was published on 12 March 2020, before a formal “lockdown” was announced on 23 March 2020. As this release covers the period January - March 2020, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy is only partially reflected in these estimates.

Services Sector Output

  • The quarterly decrease in NI services output was caused by decrease in all four subsectors, with the Business services and finance sector down 7.6 per cent ; the Other services sector down 8.8 per cent ; the Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; accommodation and food service sector down 2.6 per cent and the Transport, storage, information and communications sector down 0.8 per cent .
  • The annual decrease in NI services output was caused by decrease in all four subsectors, with the Business services and finance sector down 9.2 per cent ; the Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; accommodation and food service sector down 3.8 per cent ; the Other services sector down 8.3 per cent ; and the Transport, storage, information and communications sector down 1.4 per cent .
  • The quarterly decrease seen this quarter in the NI index is the largest quarterly change in the history of the IOS (since Q1 2005) and the index is at its lowest point since Q1 2016.

Production Sector Output

  • Production output in NI decreased over the first quarter of 2020 by 3.2 per cent  and over the year by 4.7 per cent . The UK production sector reported decreases over the quarter (2.1 per cent ) and over the year (5.0 per cent ).
  • The change in the IOP is caused by quarterly decreases in three of the four main sectors: Manufacturing (3.1 per cent ); Water supply, sewerage and waste management (Inc. recycling) (6.6 per cent ); Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (2.1 per cent ) and offset by an increase in Mining and quarrying (0.3 per cent ). The decrease in the Manufacturing sector itself contained quarterly subsector decreases in Manufacture of textiles, leather and related products (6.5 per cent ); Engineering and allied industries (6.0 per cent ); Manufacture of chemical and pharmaceutical products (3.6 per cent ) and Food products, beverages and tobacco (1.0 per cent ).
  • 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 decreased by 0.2 per cent , with the whole of the UK reporting a decrease of 2.7 per cent .
  • The decrease of 3.2 per cent  is the largest decrease in NI IOP since a 5.6 per cent decrease in Q3 2017. The NI IOP is at its lowest point since Q4 2017.

Upcoming Releases

  • The NI Composite Economic Index and Quarterly Construction Enquiry are scheduled for publication on 16 July 2020.
  • The next Labour Market Report will be published on 16 July 2020.
  • The Index of Production and Index of Services reports for Quarter 2 2020 will be published on 17 September 2020.

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 detailed statistical bulletins are available at the Index of Services page of the NISRA website and the Index of Production page of the NISRA website. 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: Carole-Ann McKay, Economic and Labour Market Statistics Branch (ELMS), Carole-ann.mckay@nisra.gov.uk or Tel: 028 9025 5119.
  4. Follow NISRA on Twitter
  5. For media enquiries contact the Department for the Economy Press Office at pressoffice@economy-ni.gov.uk 
  6. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries 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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