Thu, 08 Dec 2022

Northern Ireland Composite Economic Index Quarter 2 2022

Northern Ireland Executive
29 Sep 2022, 21 GMT+10

The Northern Ireland Composite Economic Index (NICEI) Quarter 2 2022 was published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency (NISRA).

Northern Ireland Composite Economic Index Quarter 2 2022 published

The key points were:

NI Economic output decreased over the quarter and increased over the year, 3 year and rolling four quarters.

  • The NICEI indicates that economic output decreased by 0.1% over the quarter to June 2022 and increased by 2.4% over the year to June 2022.

  • It is important to recognise there has been some volatility in the NICEI during the COVID-19 pandemic.  As lockdown measures were introduced to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and subsequently eased, this led to the NICEI falling to a series low in Q2 2020, followed by the highest quarterly increase in the NICEI to Q3 2020.

  • As a result, it is perhaps worth considering triennial change, comparing the change over three years i.e. Quarter 2 2022 and Quarter 2 2019 (the previous Quarter 2 before the pandemic) as opposed to annual change in order to mitigate any volatility arising from the pandemic in the NICEI. In terms of triennial change, NI economic output has increased at a faster rate (4.6%) compared to the annual change (2.4%) in the NICEI to Q2 2022.

  • The overall decrease in the NICEI was driven primarily by the Services sector (-0.1 pps), followed by positive contributions from the Public Sector (0.1 pps) and the Production sector (0.1 pps) and the contribution from the Construction sector remained unchanged (0.0 pps). Note that figures may not sum due to rounding.

NI Economic Activity increased at a faster rate compared to UK GDP over the 3 year period.

  • Although the measures are not produced on a fully equivalent basis, comparisons with the UK show that NI Economic Activity and UK GDP both fell over the quarter (-0.1%). NI output increased at a faster rate than UK GDP triennially (i.e. over 3 years, 4.6% vs 1.1%). However, UK GDP grew at a faster rate than the NICEI over the year (2.4% for NI vs 2.9% for the UK) and rolling annual average (5.1% for NI and 6.3% for the UK).

Both the Public and Private sectors increased over the quarter, year, 3 year and rolling four quarters.

  • NI's Private sector output as measured by the NICEI decreased over the by quarter (-0.2%) but increased over the year (2.3%) and on a triennial basis (4.4%). Meanwhile, the NICEI Public Sector (employee jobs) index increased over the quarter (0.3%), over the year (2.6%) and on a triennial basis (5.2%).

  • For the Private sector, average growth for the four quarters to Quarter 2 2022 compared to the previous four quarters increased by 5.9%. Whilst the Public sector (employee jobs) index increased by 2.4% over the same period.

Commentary

  • The NICEI indicates NI economic output decreased by 0.1% in real terms over the quarter and increased by 2.4% over the year. In addition, output has increased at a faster rate triennially (4.6%) compared to the annual change. The annualised rate of growth (i.e. the most recent four quarters compared to the previous four quarters) increased by 5.1% over the period.  

  • It is evident that the Services sector (which accounts for 53% of NI GVA) is the main driver of change in the NICEI's performance over the quarter, year, triennial and rolling four quarter average. It is also worth noting that in Q2 2022 both the Production and Public Sectors made a positive contribution to NICEI over the quarter, year, triennial and rolling four quarter period.  In contrast, activity in the Construction Sector remained flat over the quarter and decreased over the year to Q2 2022.

  • Economic activity had increased gradually in recent years (2013-2019) until the onset of the pandemic, following the prolonged downturn post 2007.  Recently the NICEI and Private Sector Component Indices have recovered from their respective series lows in Q2 2020, reaching an almost 15 year high in Q1 2022, however whilst these indices have fallen back marginally in Q2 2022 they broadly remain at the 15 year high point.

  • The quarterly decline in the NICEI between Q1 2022 and Q2 2022 meant that currently the NICEI is 0.2% below the maximum value recorded in Quarter 2 2007. UK GDP in Quarter 2 2022 is estimated to be 16.2% higher than its pre-economic downturn peak of Quarter 1 2008. 

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