At this time of year, we tend to pause and take stock of where we are economically. And when it comes to 2018, it would be tempting to view things through the prism of Western movies.
The UK Treasury painted a downbeat picture for the UK economy in the event of a no-Brexit deal but was surpassed by an even more pessimistic prognosis from the Bank of England. Still, all major UK banks passed the latest annual stress tests assuming a worst case scenario, highlighting significantly enhanced capital positions.
Today saw the release of the Northern Annual Business Inquiry (NIABI) by NISRA. This is a key resource for measuring the size, performance and structure of the Northern Ireland non-financial business economy. It excludes the public sector and accounts for around two-thirds of Northern Ireland’s overall economy.
UK GDP growth picked up in Q3 but this bounce is likely to be fleeting, judging from latest downbeat business surveys.
Today sees the release of October data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI. The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by IHS Markit – pointed to a slight pick-up in growth in October, with both output and new orders rising more quickly than in September. Rates of expansion were still weaker than seen earlier in the year, however. The rate of job creation also ticked up, but business sentiment dropped to the weakest in the 20-month series history. On the price front, both input costs and output prices increased at sharper rates amid higher costs for a range of inputs.
In many ways, yesterday’s budget could be summarised as spend now, tax later.
The US economy is motoring along, driven by recent tax cuts, keeping the Fed on course for further gradual tightening in coming months. However, signs of weakness in the Euro area mean a rate hike is some way off.
A report that looks at recruitment trends across Northern Ireland is urging local companies to improve their employment offering to attract and retain talent.
Good news for the consumer. Not only have average UK earnings posted their largest rise since 2009 but inflation fell more than expected, boosting hopes the recent real income squeeze is coming to an end.
Northern Ireland’s Labour Force Survey (LFS) has been a source of record breaking highs and lows of the positive variety over the last two years. More recently, Q1 2018 witnessed an all-time low unemployment rate of 3.1% with a record number of people in work in the three months to May. However, the subsequent data has seen rising unemployment coupled with a falling number of people in work.