• Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

Northern Ireland’s Private Sector Begins 2024 on a Stronger Footing than Ever Before with Increased Business Activity and Confidence!


Feb 12, 2024
Northern Ireland businesses experience an increase in confidence, reports show

A recent survey by Ulster Bank has revealed that companies in Northern Ireland experienced a significant increase in business activity and boost in confidence due to strong growth in their order books last month. The survey, which covers issues such as staffing levels, exports, and new orders, is seen as a reliable indicator of economic performance and suggests that the private sector began 2024 on a stronger footing than it ended 2023.

According to Richard Ramsey, chief economist at Ulster Bank, optimism among local firms was at a 32-month high and the surge in business confidence was the biggest surprise in the latest survey. Ramsey noted that firms across all four sectors were most optimistic about future output levels since May 2021, with manufacturing, services, and retail sectors reporting an increase in business activity in January while only the construction sector saw a fall.

Ramsey attributed the renewed optimism to several factors including the launch of new products and higher orders. He also highlighted a notable pick-up in domestic demand leading to the first rise in new orders after eight months. Additionally, three of the four sectors took on more staff last month while retailers reduced their staffing levels for the first time in over a year.

Overall, the survey suggests that Northern Ireland’s private sector started 2024 on a positive note with increased business activity and confidence fueled by strong growth in order books. However, Ramsey warned that political developments in Northern Ireland could impact sentiment going forward and February’s survey will provide further insight into this area.

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