Northern Ireland

NI economy grows slightly in second quarter of 2014

The manufacturing sector performed best in August, according to data provided by the Ulster Bank Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption NICEI said growth in the NI economy was being driven by the manufacturing and service industries

Northern Ireland's economy grew slightly in the second quarter of this year, according to the latest official figures.

The NI Composite Economic Index (NICEI) showed growth of 0.3% when compared to the first quarter of the year.

Compared to the same period in 2013 the economy has grown by 1.2%

The growth is being driven by the services and manufacturing industries while construction output is still falling.

Meanwhile, the labour market is continuing to improve with the number of people claiming jobseekers allowance down again in September.

The number of claimants was down by 300 to 52,000 - over the last year the number has fallen by 9,400.

The quarterly unemployment rate also showed a fall - it was down by 0.5 percentage points for the period June to August 2014 bringing it to 6.1%.

That is the lowest quarterly rate since December to February 2009.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster described the economic data as "encouraging".

She said the number of unemployment claimants had now been falling for 21 months, the most sustained decrease since June 1995.

She said the NICEI "also shows evidence of growth in real terms over both the quarter and the year up to quarter two".

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