NI economy records growth and surge in construction

By Julian O'Neill
BBC News NI Business Correspondent

image source, PA
image captionThe figures reflect a boom in the number of hotels and student accommodation in Belfast

New figures shows positives for the Northern Ireland economy, including construction output hitting a five-year high.

Activity in the construction sector rose by 7% in the final months of 2016.

The figures, published through the Department for the Economy, partly reflect a boom in hotels and student accommodation in Belfast.

The rise in output began two years ago - however, house building slipped back in the final quarter of last year.

The department has also published figures for the wider Northern Ireland economy.

They reveal the economy grew by 2.1% between the second and third quarters of 2016, largely driven by performance in the services sector.

The statistics are 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 economy.

Statisticians said that, looking over the last three years, there is "some evidence that the rate of growth has increased".

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