Economic Output Statistics

Date published: 16 March 2022

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

Economic Output Statistics
Economic Output Statistics

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

This includes the first release of the experimental NI Retail Sales Index (RSI). The RSI provides a timely indicator of change in output within the private retail service industries in Northern Ireland (NI). The retail sales sector includes retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles (SIC 47) and is a subset of the Index of Services (IOS).

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.

The information used to derive the RSI (and other quarterly outputs) comes from the statutory Quarterly Business Survey. NISRA recently moved to new online forms, which offer a quick, safe and secure way for businesses to return their statutory survey.

NISRA welcome feedback from all RSI data users.

Commentary

  • Output in the services sector increased by 1.3 per cent in real terms over the fourth quarter of 2021, and by 9.2 per cent over the year.
  • Production sector output increased by 1.1 per cent over the fourth quarter of 2021 and increased by 2.2 per cent over the year.
  • Retail output in NI saw a quarterly decrease of 1.1 per cent in Quarter 4 2021 and a decrease of 2.9 per cent over the year.
  • Northern Ireland Service and Production output are both 3.5 per cent above the pre-Coronavirus pandemic levels seen in Quarter 4 2019. In contrast Northern Ireland Retail output remains 4.4 per cent below the pre-Coronavirus pandemic level.
  • NI services output is at a series high, outperforming the previous series high shown in the revised Quarter 3 2021 estimate.

Services Sector Output

  • The NI IOS increased by 1.3 per cent over the quarter, by 9.2 per cent over the year and by 9.8 per cent on a rolling four quarters basis.
  • UK IOS output experienced an increase of 1.3 per cent over the quarter and 7.1 per cent over the year.
  • NI services output in Quarter 4 2021 is at a series high, outperforming the previous series high shown in the revised Quarter 3 2021 estimate.
  • NI services output is now 3.5 per cent above the pre-Coronavirus pandemic level seen in Quarter 4 2019 while UK Service output is now 0.3 per cent above the pre-pandemic level. 
  • The 1.3 per cent quarterly increase in NI services output reflected increases in three of the four subsectors, with increases in the Business services and finance sector (3.6 per cent); Transport, storage, information and communications sector (3.0 per cent); and in the other services sector (2.4 per cent); while the Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; accommodation and food service sector showed a decrease (0.5 per cent).
  • The 9.2 per cent annual increase in NI services output was caused by increases in all four subsectors, with an increase of 17.0 per cent in the Business services and finance sector; 15.4 per cent in the Other services sector; 8.5 per cent in the Transport, storage, information and communications sector; and an annual increase of 6.6 per cent in the Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; accommodation and food service sector.

Production Sector Output

  • The NI IOP increased by 1.1 per cent over the quarter (October - December) and increased by 2.2 per cent over the year.
  • The UK IOP reported a decrease of 0.4 per cent over the quarter and an increase of 0.1 per cent over the year.
  • The NI IOP is 3.5 per cent above the pre-Coronavirus pandemic level seen in Quarter 4 2019, while the UK remains 3.5 per cent below Quarter 4 2019.
  • All four of the main sectors reported increases over the quarter: Manufacturing (0.2 per cent); Water supply, sewerage and waste management (Inc. recycling) (5.9 per cent); Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (5.4 per cent) and Mining and quarrying (1.9 per cent).
  • The quarterly increase in Manufacturing output (0.2 per cent) was driven by increases in five of the six main subsectors: Basic metals and fabricated metal products (1.9 per cent); Total other manufacturing (1.6 per cent); Manufacture of textiles, leather and related products (1.2 per cent); Manufacture of chemical and pharmaceutical products (0.7 per cent) and Engineering and allied industries (0.6 per cent). This increase is partially offset by a decrease in the Food products, beverages and tobacco (0.7 per cent) subsector.
  • Over the year the decrease in Manufacturing (0.5 per cent) was driven by decreases in two of the six main subsectors: Manufacture of chemical and pharmaceutical products (21.1 per cent) and Engineering and allied industries (4.7 per cent). These decreases were partially offset by increases in the Total other manufacturing (13.2 per cent); Food products, beverages and tobacco (4.6 per cent); Basic metals and fabricated metal products (4.0 per cent) and Manufacture of textiles, leather and related products (2.6 per cent) 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 8.7 per cent, with the UK reporting an increase of 4.7 per cent.

Retail Sector Output

  • Retail output in NI saw a quarterly decrease of 1.1 per cent in Quarter 4 2021 and a decrease of 2.9 per cent over the year.
  • GB RSI output experienced a decrease of 0.6 per cent over the quarter and 0.5 per cent over the year.
  • NI RSI output remains 4.4 per cent below the pre-Coronavirus pandemic levels seen in Quarter 4 2019 while GB RSI output is now 3.0 per cent above the Quarter 4 2019 level.

Upcoming Releases

  • The NI Composite Economic Index and Quarterly Construction Enquiry are scheduled for publication on 31 March 2022.
  • The next Labour Market Report will be published on 12 April 2022.
  • The Index of Production, Index of Services and Retail Sales Index reports for Quarter 1 2022 will be published on 16 June 2022.

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. Following consultation with expert users, NISRA has published Northern Ireland’s first ever RSI on Wednesday 16 March 2022. The release covers the period from Quarter 1 (January to March) 2014 right up to Quarter 4 (October to December) 2021, and new data will be released on a quarterly basis alonside the IOS on the ELMS Publication Schedule page of the NISRA website.

3. The detailed statistical bulletins are available at Index of ServicesIndex of Production and Retail Sales Index.

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

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 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.

7. 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.

8. Follow NISRA on Twitter - @NISRA

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