Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland economy grew by 0.3% in first quarter of 2017

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Image caption The economists predict a growth of just 1% in both 2017 and 2018

The Northern Ireland economy grew by 0.3% in the first quarter of 2017, official figures suggest.

Output is measured using the Northern Ireland Composite Economic Index (NICEI), which is roughly equivalent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

They are the most up-to-date figures for the local economy.

The quarterly expansion was slightly higher than UK GDP growth in the same period.

On an annual basis growth was estimated at 2.4%, above the UK rate of 2%.

The private sector showed estimated quarterly growth of 0.4% and annual growth of 3.4%.

The services sector, which is the largest part of the economy, accounted for most of the growth.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The first quarter of 2017 was the second best quarter for construction work in the last five years

On an annual basis it grew by 1.6% with construction up by 0.5% and production (manufacturing) up by 0.4%.

Nisra, the official statistics agency, said that when looking at trends over the last three years it suggests that there is some evidence the rate of growth has improved.

Annualised average growth over the four quarters to Q1 2017, compared to the previous four quarters, was 1.9%.

This compares with annual growth over the previous two year period of 1.2%.

Meanwhile, detailed figures for the Northern Ireland construction sector showed that output fell by 1.7% in the first quarter.

However, compared to the same period in 2016, output was up by 7.1%, making it the second best quarter in the last five years.

The figures only relate to work carried out in Northern Ireland.

The largest Northern Ireland construction firms do the majority of their work elsewhere in the U.K.

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