Northern Ireland growth forecasts slightly lowered as Brexit uncertainty and slower global growth persist

The Northern Ireland economy appears to have contracted in the third quarter of 2019, negatively impacted by local and national political uncertainty, low confidence and slower global growth.

Throughout 2020, the economy is expected to continue relying on consumer spending to drive growth as uncertainty around the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU weighs on business investment and modest global growth constrains exports. We estimate that economic growth in Northern Ireland was a subdued 0.8 per cent in 2019, with the rate of expansion in 2020 forecast to rise just slightly to 0.9 per cent.

The labour market in Northern Ireland picked up pace in the third quarter of 2019, despite the weaker economic environment. However we do not expect this pace of growth to be maintained, in part due to the little spare capacity left in the labour market. We are forecasting a slowdown in the annual rate of jobs growth in 2020, to 0.5 per cent from an estimated 1.7 per cent in 2019.

Read the 2019 Q4 Quarterly Sectoral Forecasts report here