Subdued growth expected for the Northern Ireland economy in 2019
The Northern Ireland economy is continuing to grow but at relatively modest rates. In the final quarter of 2018, the services sector grew strongly but this was accompanied by a decline in production activity and a fall in construction output. In 2019, household spending power is likely to continue its recovery, but Brexit-related uncertainty looks set to constrain business investment and weaker global growth is expected to lead to some challenges for exporting businesses. We are forecasting that economic growth in Northern Ireland will average 1.0% in 2019 and 1.3% in 2020.
We estimate that employment growth in Northern Ireland will slow to 0.5% in 2019 and to 0.3% in 2020 as economic growth remains subdued, spare capacity in the labour market erodes further and firms begin to shift their focus away from recruiting workers and towards improving productivity.