Northern Ireland

Invest NI posts record jobs numbers for first half of 2014

Invest NI has posted record job numbers for the first half of 2014, helped by "renewed confidence" in Northern Ireland from international investors.

It promoted 10,800 new jobs April-September, the same as it did for the whole of the previous year.

Part of the reason was pushing through projects, involving firms like Moy Park and PwC, ahead of European rule changes on grants in June.

Invest NI continues to struggle in helping manufacturers to export more.

Growth in that area has been just 6% against a 20% target set by Stormont.

"We continue to see slow progress," said chief executive Alastair Hamilton.

'Financial challenges'

"It will take some time for our exports to reach the target levels set by the programme for government," he added.

Sales to Great Britain are not counted.

However performance on jobs was the opposite, with Invest NI having promoted 34,433 jobs since 2011, against a target of 25,000 under the programme for government.

The jobs will be created in projects lasting up to five years.

Six companies new to Northern Ireland arrived in the first half of this year and four more are due in the months ahead in projects yet to be announced.

Invest NI said financial challenges lie ahead - after it pays grants for job projects next year it will have "only small levels of funding" for other business.

It said it was looking forward to a decision on corporation tax, believing its devolution to Northern Ireland "will open up new opportunities for us in terms of attracting new investors here."

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