A raft of data emerged from the Department for the Economy today. The most significant release was the Quarterly Employee Survey (QES) for Q2 2017 -a comprehensive survey of the actual number of jobs in the economy. This is more closely watched than the Labour Force Survey which looks at people working in some shape or form (paid, unpaid, self-employed, voluntary etc). Continue reading
The Chancellor would happily swap the UK’s current annual economic growth rate with its inflation rate. While GDP growth remains sluggish and below the rates being experienced in most other EU countries, the converse is true for inflation. Continue reading
The latest Northern Ireland Residential Property Price Index shows that overall average house prices increased 3.1% quarter-on-quarter and 4.4% year-on-year. Continue reading
The Northern Ireland economy continued to expand in Q1 2017, according to today’s data, albeit at a weaker rate than in the previous quarter. Private sector growth (+0.4% q/q, +3.4% y/y) was driven by the services sector (+0.5% q/q, +3.1% y/y) with industrial production (-0.2% q/q, +2.1% y/y) and construction (-1.7% q/q, +7.9% y/y) posting quarterly contractions. The fall in industrial production though conceals strong rates of growth within manufacturing firms (+0.9% q/q & +0.9% y/y).
Using the UK consumer price index (CPI), the annual rise in the price of consumer goods and services eased from 2.9% in May to 2.6% in June. This unexpected easing marked the first fall in the annual inflation rate since October 2016 and perhaps reduces the likelihood that more members of the MPC will vote for an interest rate hike in the near future. That has been how financial markets have interpreted this morning’s figures, with sterling losing around one cent against the euro and the US dollar immediately after the inflation release.
While the media headlines continue to focus on the ongoing political turbulence, today’s inflation figures signal that the headwinds facing the consumer are intensifying. Continue reading
Today we received the last set of labour market statistics ahead of next month’s General Election. Theresa May will be pleased at the headlines with a number of record highs and lows. Continue reading
As far as economic growth is concerned, the Northern Ireland economy ended 2016 with a bang. Continue reading
During the three months to February 2017, Northern Ireland’s unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 5.2% (UK = 4.7%). This represents the lowest unemployment rate since the period September – November 2008. Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s youth unemployment rate (18-24yrs of age) dipped below the 13% mark for the first time in 7 years. At 12.9% (UK = 10.4%), this is almost half the rate that prevailed at the peak in Q3 2013. Surely, cause for celebration? Continue reading
The annual rate of UK CPI inflation remained unchanged in March at 2.3%. However, this headline conceals different trends within goods and services. Continue reading