Business activity in Northern Ireland has reached its highest point in six years, due largely to strong retail performance, according to a survey from the Ulster Bank.
Though costs have increased for the country’s businesses, intense demand for goods has allowed them to thrive, leading to the fastest rise in prices in half a decade. New businesses have also experienced considerable growth, and have hired new staff for the last three months.
Speaking with the press, Richard Ramsey, a chief economist for Ulster Bank, stated: "The retail, construction and manufacturing sectors all posted faster rates of growth in activity, which helped push the overall business activity index to its highest level in more than six years. The rate at which new business is coming in is also still growing, however not as strongly as it was, due to an easing of new orders in the services sector. In terms of employment, a significant slowdown in the rate of job creation within the services and manufacturing industries was largely offset by a pick-up in employment growth within."
Northern Ireland has also seen a reduction in redundancies and in the number of people claiming benefits.