Northern Ireland

A tale of two sectors in Northern Ireland's economy

Ford Mondeo production line assembly line factory interior car manufacturing
Image caption Manufacturing output in NI has risen for a third quarter

Although the UK economy grew by 0.2% overall, according to GDP figures released on Tuesday, it is a tale of two sectors in Northern Ireland.

Figures released earlier this month by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment show Northern Ireland's service sector output is almost 16% below its peak in 2007, but manufacturing output has enjoyed its third consecutive quarterly rise.

During the last three quarters Northern Ireland's industrial production (essentially the manufacturing sector) has risen by 6.7% compared to a UK average of 0.8%.

Northern Ireland's industrial production increased by 1% in the first quarter of 2011 compared to the previous quarter and was 5.7% higher than the same quarter in 2010.

But the service sector continues to drag the economy down. The Business Services and Finance sector - which covers 45% of private sector services and covers everything from banking to PR and legal services - showed some growth in the first quarter but remains 31% below its 2007 peak.

The Wholesale and Retail Distribution sector has contracted for five quarters in a row with first quarter figures for 2011, 10.6% below the same quarter in 2010.

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