Northern Ireland Composite Economic Index Quarter 4 2018 published

Date published: 11 April 2019

The NI Composite Economic Index (NICEI) Q4 2018 was published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

Composite Economic Index
Composite Economic Index

The NICEI is an experimental 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Quarterly Construction Enquiry (QCE)), public sector employee jobs data from the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES), and unpublished agricultural output data from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).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 0.2 per cent in real terms between Quarter 3 (July-September) 2018 and Quarter 4 (October-December) 2018. The index increased by 1.9 per cent over the year from Quarter 4 2017 to Quarter 4 2018.
  • The increase in the NICEI over the latest quarter (0.2 per cent) was driven by an increase in the Services sector (a positive contribution of 0.5 percentage points (pps)). This increase was partially offset by a decrease in the Construction sector (a negative contribution of 0.3 pps) and the Production sector (a negative contribution of 0.1 pps). 

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

  • NI output increased by 0.2 per cent over the quarter and 1.9 per cent over the year to Q4 2018, whilst UK GDP grew by 0.2 per cent and 1.4 per cent over the same period.

Increase in Northern Ireland’s annualised rate of growth to Q4 2018

  • 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 4 2018 compared to the previous four quarters, increased by 1.2 per cent.  This was higher than the annual growth over the previous two year period (to Quarter 4 2017) which was 0.5 per cent.

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

  • Private sector output increased by 0.2 per centbetween Quarter 3 (July-September) 2018 and Quarter 4 (October-December) 2018 and increased by 2.2 per cent over the year (Quarter 4 2017 to Quarter 4 2018). The Public sector jobs index increased by 0.1 per cent over the quarter and by 0.6 per cent over the year.
  • For the Private sector, average growth for the four quarters to Quarter 4 2018 compared to the previous four quarters increased by 1.4 per cent. Whilst the Public sector (employee jobs) index increased by 0.5 per cent over the same period.

Commentary

  • NI economic activity grew faster than UK GDP over the year and the same over the quarter. NI output increased by 0.2 per cent over the quarter and 1.9 per cent over the year, compared to an increase in GDP for the UK of 0.2 per cent over the quarter and 1.4 per cent over the year. 
  • Over the last two years, growth in NI output increased by 1.2 per cent, compared to UK growth of 1.4 per cent. This was an increase on the NI growth rate compared to the two years to Q4 2017 (0.5 per cent). NI's Private sector output increased by 0.2 per cent over the quarter, and over the year by 2.2 per cent.
  • The NICEI is currently 4.6 per cent below the maximum value recorded in Quarter 2 2007. In Quarter 4 2018, UK GDP was estimated to have been 12.1 per cent 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.
  • (Please note that figues may not sum due to rounding)

 

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Northern Ireland Composite Economic Index (NICEI) is an experimental quarterly measure of the performance of the Northern Ireland (NI) economy based on available official statistics.
  1. The NICEI output measures relate to the fourth quarter (October-December) of 2018. 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.
  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.
  1. The detailed statistical bulletin is available at the NI Composite Economic Index page.
  1. Further information and tables from each of the data sources are available on the NISRA - Economic and Labour Market Statistics Website.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  2. Follow ELMS on Twitter - @ELMSNISRA  

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