Business

Northern Ireland among best in UK at creating jobs, PwC

Northern Ireland is one of the best UK regions at job creation

NORTHERN Ireland is among the best regions of the UK when it comes to creating jobs, according to the latest UK Economic Outlook from business advisers PwC.

The report suggested a growth in the services sector would see 3 million jobs created across the UK over the next decade.

It also points to the north as a lead in investment in research and development (R&D).

However, in other key measures such as economic growth, GVA per capita, public spending per head and the number of workers with no qualifications, Northern Ireland remains either the worst, or amongst the worst performing of the 12 regions.

But PwC said the north could turn the situation around by focusing on existing business clusters in the services and advanced manufacturing sectors.

The outlook forecast economic growth of 1.4 per cent in Northern Ireland this year making it the slowest growing region, well behind the anticipated UK average of 2.2 per cent.

PwC said the report's finding that some recovery in construction should be anticipated, with some further recovery in distribution and tourism/leisure sectors like hospitality and hotels, would be reflected in Northern Ireland.

It pointed out that employment in manufacturing in Northern Ireland has actually increased by around 7,000 since 2010 and was "broadly stable" last year "notwithstanding recent difficulties" such as announcements of major job losses at Bombardier.

Dr Esmond Birnie, chief economist at PwC in Northern Ireland, said that the UK had been a powerful "job creating machine" in recent years and the dominant story of the last century had been the rise of services to its current position as the source of over 80 per cent of total UK employment/

“Northern Ireland has helped drive growth and was the fifth best of the 12 UK regions in terms of job creation in the two years to the end of 2015," he said.

“Health and education and business services have been the biggest growth areas for jobs since the late 1970s and nationally, we see a further 2.5 million jobs being added in these sectors by 2025 as demand continues to rise relatively fast for these services.

“The challenge for Northern Ireland will be to win a share of these new jobs and that will require a significant improvement in terms of productivity and in accelerating growth amongst existing companies – both areas where the region is not currently performing well.

“Automation will also be a continuing factor in boosting productivity and output but reducing employment in manufacturing, another areas where Northern Ireland’s advanced manufacturing industries have the potential to drive growth.”

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