Northern Ireland economy still constrained by Brexit and weaker global growth
The Northern Ireland economy didn’t pick up much underlying momentum in the first quarter of 2019. Services output fell over the quarter, and while production activity increased, this was likely related to stockpiling in anticipation of the original Brexit deadline.
Looking forward, consumer spending is projected to pick up throughout the year, boosted by rising wages and a moderation of inflationary pressures. But Brexit-related uncertainty is likely to continue to drag on business investment and the slower pace of global economic growth is expected to weigh on exports. We are forecasting that the Northern Ireland economy will grow by 1.0% in 2019 and 1.3% in 2020.
The latest employment data showed that the labour market remained strong at the start of 2019. The number of employee jobs increased both over the quarter and over the year to 2019 Q1. As a result of this strong data, we have revised our forecast for employee jobs growth up to 1.3% in 2019 but then expect jobs growth to slow to 0.5% in 2020.