Productivity 'biggest economic pain'
Northern Ireland's low rate of productivity remains "the most fundamental economic challenge" facing the province, it's been claimed.
The province has one of the lowest productivity levels within the UK, according to the latest figures.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said output (gross value added) in 2015 per hour worked was 80.9% of the UK average.
Only Wales had a lower level, at 80.6%. And the province also had the second lowest level of GVA per job filled, at 83.5% of the UK average. Wales had the lowest level, at 79.1%.
Esmond Birnie, senior economist at the Northern Ireland economic policy centre, said the figures were bad news for the economy. "Without higher productivity businesses may struggle to be profitably and, in the long run, may not survive.
"Without higher productivity the Northern Ireland economy will continue to be characterised by high rates of low pay and poverty...More needs to be done in terms of apprenticeships, improved management skills and better commercialisation of innovation."