Economic recovery 'taking hold'
Economic recovery is taking hold in Northern Ireland and renewing the confidence of the business community, a body representing accountants has said.
Darren McDowell, head of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society, said Northern Ireland was emerging from "the worst recession in living memory".
Addressing 300 members at the Ulster Society's annual dinner at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Mr McDowell said: "There is still some way to go but all the data points to a revival with real growth, rising employment, falling unemployment and better business prospects."
Among the positive signs were that spend on research and development had more than doubled since 2007, Mr McDowell said.
Invest NI's Jobs Fund had surpassed its 4,000 target to reach 4,200, while another 1,300 other jobs had also been promoted in the last three quarters, he said.
"I understand that there are a number of very significant investment announcements by new and existing companies to come, which will involve many hundreds of new jobs. These are signs that we are driving recovery and building a more robust, innovative and export-driven economy."
But he said a full recovery would take time and would require working together.
"We can't pretend that the job of rebuilding the economy will be easy or achieved in short timeframe. It will take time. "There will be knocks along the way. The important thing will be our ability to recover from those knocks and continue," said Mr McDowell.