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Northern Ireland’s Economic Boom: Strong Growth and High Confidence in 2024

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Northern Ireland’s Economic Boom: Strong Growth and High Confidence in 2024

Northern Ireland’s Economic Boom: Strong Growth and High Confidence in 2024
February 13
15:08 2024

Northern Ireland is currently undergoing a notable economic upswing, with companies reporting substantial growth in their order books, instilling confidence across the region. A recent survey by Ulster Bank revealed a promising start to 2024, positioning the private sector in a significantly stronger position compared to the end of 2023. The monthly inquiry by Ulster Bank into various aspects of the private sector, such as staffing levels and new orders, serves as a reliable indicator of economic performance. The findings show a surge in business confidence, reaching a 32-month high, with all four sectors displaying a remarkable increase in optimism.

Richard Ramsey, the chief economist at Ulster Bank, expressed surprise at the substantial boost in confidence, noting that local firms are currently the most optimistic about future output levels since May 2021. This positive sentiment is pervasive across manufacturing, services, retail, and construction sectors, marking a noteworthy turn of events. The newfound optimism is attributed to the introduction of new products and a surge in higher orders, indicating a positive trajectory independent of political developments in Stormont.

Despite a decline in the construction sector, manufacturing, services, and retail experienced a surge in business activity in January. Ramsey highlighted a significant increase in domestic demand, leading to the first rise in new orders in eight months. However, retailers witnessed a reduction in staffing levels for the first time in over a year, adding complexity to the overall economic landscape. As Northern Ireland navigates through these economic shifts, the eagerly awaited February survey aims to discern the potential influence of political developments on sentiment, with the current resurgence and overall economic optimism hinting at a promising trajectory for the region in the coming months.

Source: By Clodagh Rice, BBC News NI business correspondent for BBC News 

Image Source: Ulster Bank website 

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