NI employment growth fastest in UK
Northern Ireland has enjoyed the fastest rate of business employment growth in the UK, a senior economist said.
Local firms posted 10 months of improvement in the number of new orders, said Richard Ramsey, from Ulster Bank.
Last month staffing levels increased at the fastest rate since the Purchasing Managers' Index survey began in 2002.
Mr Ramsey said: "It is clear that Northern Ireland's private sector recovery is still firing on all cylinders."
Sharper rates of job creation were recorded in the manufacturing, service and construction industries, while staffing numbers rose at a quicker pace than at the UK-wide level.
The expert, chief economist for Northern Ireland at the bank, added: "The sustained period of business growth is feeding through into job creation with renewed vigour.
"Northern Ireland firms reported the fastest rate of employment growth of all the UK regions.
"On a quarterly basis, the first quarter of 2014 saw Northern Ireland's private sector employment expand at its fastest rate in seven years."