Industry's prowess as powerhouse returning
The rise in business activity in July has been boosted by a number of strong manufacturing orders.
Yelo, based in Carrickfergus, designs and manufactures automated test equipment for the international electronics market.
The firm recently secured new contracts worth more than £500,000 for its laser diode test systems in the US.
Its customers include major US corporations including Kaiam Corporation, a specialist in optical components and modules for video streaming, smartphones and cloud computing.
DM Innovations of Belfast – which offers services including intellectual property protection, product development, prototyping and manufacturing and licensing – secured orders to supply a coiled lanyard product to police and military customers in the United Arab Emirates and Scotland.
Also in July, a total of 3,812 new vehicles were registered here in July, an 11% increase on the same month last year, bringing the total number of new cars for the year so far to 33,810, a 7.5% rise on 2012.
The figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers bode well for the economy as they signal that consumers are confident enough to invest in so-called 'big ticket' items.
Bryan Gray, chief executive of trade body Manufacturing NI, said that Northern Ireland's historic reputation as a manufacturing powerhouse may be set to return.
"It's great to see manufacturing leading the way to economic recovery in the latest figures, with significant growth in general activity driven by an increase of 15% in new orders from Great Britain and beyond," he said.
"Although the local market is still depressed and growth here is still lagging some way behind the rest of the UK, local companies are making a significant inroads to the Great Britain market as well as increasing exports abroad. Confidence among local manufacturers is higher than it's been for a long time."