NI firms increase staffing levels as business activity increases

Graphic providing an overview of the latest Ulster Bank NI PMI, including business activitry, new orders and employment

The Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI for December is released today. Here is a snapshot of the findings. You can download the full report at the end of this post.

Chart showing the performance of the 4 sectors of the NI economy, according to the latest Ulster Bank NI PMI, including manufacturing, retail, construction and servicesChart showing the latest Ulster Bank NI PMI figures against the equivalent figures for the long-term average before the credit crunch

  • The headline seasonally adjusted Business Activity Index posted 52.3 in December, down marginally from 52.6 in November but continuing to signal a solid expansion in private sector output in Northern Ireland.
  • Activity has now risen in each of the past eight months
  • According to respondents, improving market conditions and rising new export business had contributed to the increase in activity.
  • Manufacturing production returned to growth following a fall in November.
  • Total new business rose for the eighth consecutive month in December.
  • Moreover, the rate of growth quickened for the second month running and was the fastest since August.
  • Higher new business led to a build-up of backlogs of work, the second in as many months.
  • Firms increased their staffing levels for the eleventh successive month during December.
  • Three of the four (manufacturing, construction, services, and retail) monitored sectors posted higher employment, the exception being manufacturing.
  • Input prices increased at the fastest pace for a year at the end of 2015, with a number of respondents highlighting rising staff costs.
  • The service sector posted the strongest rate of inflation, with the latest increase the fastest since April 2014.
  • Output prices at Northern Ireland companies rose for the second month running in December.
  • The rate of inflation was slight and broadly in line with that seen across the UK economy as a whole.

Download the full Ulster Bank NI PMI report and slidepack here.

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