Belfast Telegraph

Services show second quarter blip

OUTPUT by Northern Ireland's services firms fell by 0.7% during the second quarter of this year, compared to an increase of 0.6% in the UK as a whole.

However, on a year-to-year basis, the index of services from the Department of Finance and Personnel was up 0.1% on the same period in 2012.

The index, which analyses a sample of 1,900 companies, had good news for some parts of the services sector. The sub-sector 'other services' , defined as 'education, health and social work, arts, entertainment and recreation and other services', showed the most pronounced increase, at 4.7%.

The performance of the business services and finance sector had also improved, with output up 1.5% – and as the sector includes estate agents, the increase could be at least partly attributed to a renewal of activity in the property market.

But the decrease was down to falls in output in the wholesale and retail trade, the repair of motor vehicles, accommodation and food service activities sectors, which fell 2.7%. The steepest fall was in transport, storage, information and communication, where output fell by just over 4%.

The relative sluggishness of services as a whole appears to be turned on its head in the third quarter, with reports showing five months in a row of growing activity in all sectors.

Belfast Telegraph