Private and public imbalance needs addressed
DESPITE the economic composite index for Northern Ireland improving in quarter four, it is disappointing that the labour market did not see the same progress during the December-February period.
But it is important to note that our private sector in Northern Ireland is doing very well, expanding by 3.2% over the year to quarter four.
Indeed, in the last few weeks we have heard some very impressive job-creation announcements (such as the creation of over 1,000 jobs at Concentrix) which will have a positive impact on the quarter two data when it becomes available.
Unfortunately, however, it will take time to address the structural imbalances between our public and private sectors and therefore in Northern Ireland we are not yet seeing the same level of progress when it comes to the labour market when compared to the rest of UK.
A continued policy push for stimulating enterprise, export growth, innovation and research and development will in time pay off.
Angela McGowan is chief economist at Danske Bank
The expansion of the private sector in NI in the last year to quarter four