Posted on Friday 23 May 2014 by Ulster Business

Latest GDP data sees UK economy grow by 0.8% in Q1 2014

Dr Esmond Birnie, chief economist at PwC in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland's economy is recovering, but still lagging behind the rest of the UK.

That's the view of PwC chief economist Dr Esmond Birnie following the release of the latest GDP data which revealed the UK economy grew by 0.8% in the first quarter of the year.

"The good news is that the UK economy is now firing on all cylinders; the less good news is that Northern Ireland needs to see significant acceleration to close the gap with other regions and the UK average," he said.
His comments chime with other economic indicators which suggest Northern Ireland's economy has been slower to get out of the starting blocks compared to other UK regions.

The overall UK economy meanwhile still has some way to go before it reaches the level of activity witnessed in 2008 before the economic crisis took hold.
It's 0.6% below its pre crisis level but this quarter's strong performance has given hope the deficit will soon be eaten up.

"Private sector services continue to drive the recovery, contributing around three quarters of the 0.8% growth rate in the first quarter of the year, with the remaining quarter being split between manufacturing, construction and government services," Mr Birney said.

"Business investment estimates are highly provisional at this stage, but hint at five consecutive quarters of positive growth implying a cumulative rise of 12% since their recent low in Q4 2012.
"But business investment still remains 17% below its pre-recession peak in Q1 2008, so there's still a long way to go before these losses are made up.

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