Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland on bumpy road to recovery

By Margaret Canning

Economic recovery, whether in Northern Ireland, the eurozone or the US, is an extremely fragile process. We are getting many reminders this week of how our own recovery cannot be taken for granted.

While recovery in the Republic seems to be taking wing and its Finance Minister Michael Noonan can trumpet the end of austerity in his Budget, our Finance Minister is warning of the cuts we have yet to face.

The Republic has taken its medicine bravely and with only a slight grimace, while we have managed to push away the hand holding the spoon for years.

But yesterday saw the release of some comforting economic data in Northern Ireland, with a still-falling unemployment rate and claimant count.

Young people are also seeing some fruits of the slight recovery, with the unemployment rate for 18-to-24-year-olds falling 4%.

This age group has been the demographic hardest hit by the downturn and will be breathing a sigh of relief that things may be getting better.

Economic activity also increased during the second quarter of 2014.

But with public expenditure cuts around the corner, we know better than to celebrate prematurely.

And fragility in the wider economy could also cause a problem, as yesterday the FTSE fell to a 16-month low, a downward trajectory followed in suit by the Dow Jones and the European markets.

Belfast Telegraph