This is an important week for understanding what has been going on within the Northern Ireland economy. We had four surveys released yesterday by NISRA – two on the labour market and two on private sector output. Within them, there was a variety of highs and lows, some of which are positive and some of which are concerning. For the labour market, the two key releases were the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS) and the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES). The latter is the most closely watched survey of the number of jobs in the economy. Meanwhile the other two surveys shed light on private sector output in the third quarter. These were the Index of Services and the Index of Production (industrial production / manufacturing output). So what do they tell us about the local economy? Continue reading
It may come as a surprise to some to learn that Northern Ireland is the happiest place in the UK, according to the latest statistics on the issue, despite being the focal point of some of the UK’s major economic challenges; namely Brexit and the border. Continue reading
“Global growth remains strong.” That was key judgement number one underpinning the Bank of England’s forecast in the most recent Inflation Report. The Eurozone has been at the heart of the improvement to the global economy over the past 12 months and, in turn, that’s been supportive to the UK. Can it all continue? Continue reading
Today sees the release of October data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI®. The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by IHS Markit – indicated that the private sector remained firmly in growth territory, despite rates of expansion in output and new orders easing from the previous month. Firms continued to take on extra staff at a solid pace. Meanwhile, input costs rose sharply again and the rate of output price inflation quickened. Continue reading
You can’t keep the UK shopper down. The retail sales figures for August are testament to that. Is a hike in interest rates on the way to cool things off?
Boom! UK shoppers hit the shops with gusto in August. The amount spent grew by 1.0%m/m and 5.6%y/y. The volume purchased, which adjusts the amount spent for inflation, rose 1.0%m/m and 2.4%y/y. Rising employment means more people are earning but that can’t account for retail sales growth. Either we dipped into our savings or we borrowed more. The Monetary Policy Committee will have noticed the rise in inflation to 3.2%. That will strengthen the hand of members who believe that the time for a rise in Bank Rate is coming closer. Continue reading
Today sees the release of August data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI®. The Northern Ireland private sector recorded faster rises in output and new orders during August, supporting further job creation. Sterling weakness played an important role in the local economy, helping firms to secure new export orders but also adding to inflationary pressures. Continue reading
Today sees the release of May data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI®. The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by IHS Markit – pointed to a pick-up in new order growth during May, supporting a further solid increase in output. The rate of job creation also accelerated as firms responded to current workloads and positive expectations around future new work. Meanwhile, both input costs and output prices rose at slower rates than in April. Continue reading
Today sees the release of April data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI®. The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by Markit – signalled the strongest rise in business activity of the year-to-date, while new orders continued to increase solidly and companies were optimistic of further output growth over the coming year. Meanwhile, the rate of job creation accelerated. On the price front, both input costs and output charges continued to rise sharply. Continue reading
Today sees the release of March data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI®. The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by Markit – indicated that a solid rise in business activity ended a positive first quarter of the year. Further increases were also seen in new orders and employment. Meanwhile, rates of inflation remained elevated as a result of sterling weakness. Continue reading
To say that 2016 was an eventful year would be an understatement. Political surprises have become the order of the day with the vote for Brexit & Trump (“BRUMP”) the highlights. The political landscape at the end of 2016 looks vastly different to what we had at the start of the year. The same holds true for the local economy.