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Wednesday, 5 February, 2003, 10:18 GMT
NI coping better in global economy
NI manufacturers predicting increased output
Manufacturers in Northern Ireland have been coping better with the global economic decline than other regions in the UK, according to a survey.

Northern Ireland is also the only part of the UK where employment is predicted to increase in the next four months and one of only two regions where it did rise in the past four.

The Confederation of British Industry's (CBI) regional trends survey showed manufacturers in the provincewere slightly pessimistic about the general business situation.

The results were taken from 904 replies to the CBI's quarterly industrial trends survey.

The CBI is the main lobbying body for business in the UK.

Increase

Optimism dropped but much less than in the UK as a whole, with a 4% reduction against 19% nationwide.

Manufacturing companies surveyed reported a 38% increase in orders in the past four months, the largest since 1996. This was coupled with a 32% increase in employment.

This increase came despite 51% of firms operating below capacity, the lowest in the UK.

The survey predicted that output would increase by a further 11% in the next four months. Output remained static this time, after a sharp increase in the previous survey.

Northern Ireland showed:

  • A 32% employment increase against an average 30% nationwide decrease
  • A 38% increase in orders against a national reduction of 9%
  • Output static against a 9% drop overall
  • A 20 year high of 51% of NI firms operating below capacity compared with 74% across the UK

Northern Ireland manufacturers predicted:

  • A 16% increase in employment against a national drop of 29%
  • An increase in output of 11% against a rise of 2%
  • Orders static against a 3% drop nationally.

The survey showed export optimism had deteriorated slightly. Positive sentiment was shown in the previous three surveys.

The domestic market was entirely responsible for the sharp upturn in orders, as export orders showed a slight decline.

The export orders were expected to continue dropping.

Total orders were expected to remain unchanged because of the strength of the domestic market.

The CBI has the highest profile of the UK's various organisations representing the business community.

It is a non-profit making, non-party political organisation, funded by its member companies which employ about four million people between them.

Will the UK economy feel the impact of the US slowdown?

Economic indicators

Analysis

UK rate decisions
See also:

25 Nov 02 | Business
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