Nisra: Economic activity in north grew faster than UK GDP over last three years

Economic activity in the north increased by 4.8 per cent over the past three years, higher than UK GDP over the same period.

ECONOMIC activity in the north has increased at a faster rate than UK gross domestic product (GDP) over the past three years, according to official government data.

The Northern Ireland Research and Statistics Agency (Nisra) said the Northern Ireland Composite Economic Index (NICEI), which is the closest measure it has to measuring GDP, grew by 4.8 per cent over the past three years.

In that same time, UK GDP increased by 1.3 per cent.

But the index showed Northern Ireland’s economy started 2022 at a slower rate than the UK.

Economic output grew by 0.4 per cent between the final quarter of 2021 and the first quarter (Q1) of 2022 and was 7.8 per cent up over the year.

That lagged behind UK GDP, which grew by 0.8 per cent over the quarter and 8.7 per cent over the year.

Nisra said the Q1 growth was largely driven by the north’s services sector, which outperformed the growth in the manufacturing and public sectors.

The services sector makes up around half of the Northern Ireland economy.

But the index showed the north’s construction sector contracting by 0.3 per cent between the end of 2021 and start of 2022.

Overall, Nisra said economic activity in Q1 2022 was just 0.1 per cent below the all-time high recorded in Q2 2007, just weeks before the credit crisis sent the global economy into a downward spiral.