Local economy showing some growth

Skyline, Derry.
Skyline, Derry.

The local economy in the north west is beginning to show signs of growth despite the unease over Brexit, a new report has suggested.

The findings form part of a wider report brought to a meeting of the local Strategic Growth Partnership in the Guildhall by Senior Economic Advisor at the Ulster University’s Economic Policy Centre, Dr Eoin Magennis.

The report highlighted a strong growth in jobs across a range of sectors for the region and a falling unemployment rate over the period 2012 – 2018. The biggest growth area was in the private sector with fields such as Health and Social Work, Manufacturing and Professional and Scientific professions forging ahead.

In Derry and Strabane, over 8,000 jobs have been created since 2001, with 2,800 jobs expected to be created by 2028, an overall three per cent increase. Annual unemployment rates are forecast to fall from ten per cent in 2017 to five per cent in 2028.

Dr Magennis also outlined some of the challenges still facing the local area, with the employment rate at 56 per cent and the unemployment and economic inactivity rates still higher than the NI average. Other challenges include the continuing migration of local people.

Speaking after the meeting Dr Magennis said: “Today’s report highlights some really good news stories for the North West but we need further support and intervention to reach the milestones identified within the Strategic Growth Plan. Lots of things are on target and with the full implementation of the Growth Plan and the delivery of the City Deal this has the potential to achieve the levels of growth that will bring Derry and Strabane in line with the rest of NI, with a view to surpassing some of those targets over time.”

He added this was very much dependent on key projects such as Magee Medical School.