Posted on Thursday 15 October 2015 by Ulster Business

Foundations of construction recovery strengthen

Solid evidence that Northern Ireland’s builders are finding more and more work at home has emerged from latest government data.

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) said that construction output here in the three months to the end of June was up 18% on the same period last year, the fourth consecutive quarter of growth.

Crucially, it relates to work carried out only in Northern Ireland rather than that carried out by Northern Ireland firms in the rest of the UK or elsewhere.

That’s key because the sector had been so depressed here over the last few years that building companies had to travel to find work in other regions.

Encouragingly, the data showed that new work accounted for a large part of the increase with repair and maintenance – a part of the industry which had been busier during the downturn – actually falling by nearly 5% in the second quarter compared to the first three months of the year.

And house building also saw a sharp increase of nearly 12% while government austerity remained apparent with a 8.5% drop in infrastructure output.

Meanwhile, data has also been released on the overall Northern Ireland economy.

The NI Composite Index, again compiled by NISRA, showed the economy here grew by 1.3% in the second quarter compared to the same time last year.

It was driven by the boost to the construction sector as well as strong performances from both the services and the production sectors.

Government austerity was again apparent in the wider economy with output from the public sector falling by 0.3%.

And although the overall growth in the economy here of 1.3% will be welcomed, Northern Ireland continues to lag behind the UK as a whole where annual growth stands at 2.7%.

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