Look beyond the economic headlines

newspapers-444448_1920

If there’s one thing that 2016 has perhaps taught us, it’s that you have to be wary of headlines. When it came to both the EU referendum debate and the US Presidential election, partisan UK and US media organisations often dominated public discourse with overly-simplified headlines that didn’t do justice to complex and nuanced stories. Continue reading

Chief Economist’s Weekly Brief – No time to rest

Unemployment may be low and job growth robust, but it’s not time to rest. The UK’s productivity performance is screaming for more investment. So it’s encouraging that more spending on infrastructure and R&D look to be key planks of the government’s ‘industrial strategy’. We await Wednesday’s Autumn Statement for more detail.

Continue reading

Women lead the way in labour market figures

female-unemployment

The headlines in Northern Ireland’s latest labour market statistics make for pleasant reading.

Unemployment is continuing to fall and fresh record highs and lows were established for the employment and economic inactivity rates respectively.

However, these headlines conceal a significant divergence with respect to gender. Continue reading

Chief Economist’s Weekly Brief – Delivering

The UK’s service sector delivered yet again in Q3, propelling the economy to a 0.5%q/q expansion. In the past five years service sector output has risen 14%. Not far behind the 17% rise in the five ‘boom’ years to 2008.  So it’s a robust performance. Higher inflation will provide a test over the coming year. But at least momentum is strong.

Continue reading

The highs and lows of the labour market

chart-1

The latest batch of Northern Ireland labour market statistics was littered with highs and lows of the positive variety. Of particular note were the record high in Northern Ireland’s employment rate and the record low in the economic inactivity rate. These improvements were due to a notable improvement in female participation in the labour market. Other notable highlights included a record number of people in employment (847,000) in the three months to August 2016. Continue reading