Northern Ireland Composite Economic Index Quarter 1 2019 published

Date published: 18 July 2019

The NI Composite Economic Index (NICEI) Q1 2019 was published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency (NISRA).

NI Composite Index
NI Composite Index

The NICEI is a quarterly measure of the performance of the NI economy based on available official statistics. The NICEI combines existing published quarterly indices (i.e. Index of Services (IOS), Index of Production (IOP), Quarterly Construction Enquiry (QCE)), public sector employee jobs data from the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES), and unpublished agricultural output data from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).  These indices are weighted using ONS Regional Accounts Gross Value Added (GVA) data to provide a proxy measure of total economic output in the NI economy on a quarterly basis.

Key points:

NI Economic output increased over the quarter and the year

  • The NICEI results indicate that NI economic activity was estimated to have increased by 0.3% in real terms between Quarter 4 (October-December) 2018 and Quarter 1 (January-March) 2019. The index increased by 1.5% over the year from Quarter 1 2018 to Quarter 1 2019.
  • The increase in the NICEI over the latest quarter (0.3%) was driven by an increase in the Production sector (a positive contribution of 0.3 percentage points (pps)) and the Construction sector (a positive contribution of 0.1pps). This was partially offset by a decrease in the Services sector (a negative contribution of 0.2 pps). (1)

NI economic activity grew slower than UK GDP over the quarter and over the year

  • NI output increased by 0.3% over the quarter and 1.5% over the year to Q1 2019, whilst UK GDP grew by 0.5% and 1.8% over the same period.

Increase in Northern Ireland’s annualised rate of growth to Q1 2019

  • When the trend in the index is considered over the last three years there is evidence that the rate of growth has picked up. Annualised average growth over the last four quarters to Quarter 1 2019 compared to the previous four quarters, increased by 1.6%.  This was higher than the annual growth over the previous two year period (to Quarter 1 2018) which was -0.2%.

Increase in private and public sector growth over the quarter and the year

  • Private sector output increased by 0.3% between Quarter 4 (October-December) 2018 and Quarter 1 (January-March) 2019 and increased by 1.6% over the year (Quarter 1 2018 to Quarter 1 2019). The Public sector jobs index increased by 0.2% over the quarter and by 1.0% over the year.
  • For the Private sector, average growth for the four quarters to Quarter 1 2019 compared to the previous four quarters increased by 1.9%. Whilst the Public sector (employee jobs) index increased by 0.8% over the same period.

Commentary

  • NI economic activity grew slower than UK GDP over the quarter and the year. NI output increased by 0.3% over the quarter and 1.5% over the year, compared to an increase in GDP for the UK of 0.5% over the quarter and 1.8% over the year. 
  • Over the last two years, growth in NI output increased by 1.6%, compared to UK growth of 1.5%. This was an increase on the NI growth rate compared to the two years to Q1 2018 (-0.2%). NI's Private sector output increased by 0.3% over the quarter, and over the year by 1.6%.
  • The NICEI is currently 4.4% below the maximum value recorded in Quarter 2 2007. In Quarter 1 2019, UK GDP was estimated to have been 12.6% higher than its pre-economic downturn peak of Quarter 1 2008. The latest NICEI results continue to show that the UK has had a shorter downturn and a faster recovery than NI.

(1) Please note may not sum due to rounding.

Notes to Editors:

1. The Northern Ireland Composite Economic Index (NICEI) is a quarterly measure of the performance of the Northern Ireland (NI) economy based on available official statistics.

2. The NICEI output measures relate to the first quarter (January-March) of 2019. These estimates are based on surveys of businesses and estimates of change are subject to sampling error. Figures for a quarter may be revised if more complete information subsequently becomes available.

3. 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.

4. The detailed statistical bulletin is available at the NI Composite Economic Index page.

5. Further information and tables from each of the data sources are available on the NISRA Economic and Labour Market Statistics page

6. For media enquiries, please contact DfE Press Office on 028 9052 9604. Outside office hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.

7. Feedback is welcomed and should be addressed to:

Responsible economist:
David Leonard
Economic & Labour Market Statistics Branch (ELMS),
David.leonard@nisra.gov.uk  Tel: 028 9052 95385.

8. Follow ELMS on Twitter - @ELMSNISRA

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