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Official statistics indicating that it is prospering under the Northern Ireland Protocol shows that Northern Ireland’s economy has recovered significantly from the blow of COVID-19 and is the best performing country in all UK countries and regions.

Northern Ireland’s economic output in the third quarter was 0.3% lower than in the fourth quarter of 2019, before the outbreak, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday.

The region outperformed the rest of the UK and outperformed the overall economic recovery, which fell by 2.1% over the same period.

London was the second-best performer, with production falling by 1.8% compared to pre-pandemic levels, followed by Wales.

In contrast, economic output in the Western Midlands was still almost 10% below pre-pandemic levels.

Jonathan Portes, professor of economics at Kings College London, said it was plausible that Northern Ireland performed better. Under the protocol, the region is in fact still part of the EU single market, favoring access to both the EU and the UK.

According to separate official statistics released last month, Northern Ireland was the only region in the UK where imports increased in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period.

However, exports by value contracted at a faster rate than England, but still stronger than Scotland and Wales.

Oxford Economics economist Richard Holt says Northern Ireland has a large public sector that has helped protect the economy during the pandemic.

wide regional disparities

Holt added that he wasn’t surprised that London was one of the better performing areas in the UK compared to the rest of the world, thanks to a large number of employees who could continue to work from home.

While many jobs in consumer-facing services have disappeared from the capital during the consecutive Covid-19 lockdowns, more productive jobs have continued, mostly with telecommuting employees.

In contrast, the manufacturing-reliant West Midlands have been particularly hard hit by supply problems, particularly global chip shortages and declining demand for automobiles.

Ruth Gregory, an economist at consulting firm Capital Economics, said the wide regional disparities only underscore the risk that the epidemic could deepen regional disparities, address geographic inequalities and fuel debates about leveling. .

However, ONS said the data should be treated with caution because there is some uncertainty. These figures follow ONS’s attempt to provide more timely regional data.

Statisticians warn that the exact trend may differ from what the official figures suggest due to the large confidence intervals or estimates that ONS has published for the latest data.

Gemma Rabaiotti, Head of Regional GDP for Quarterly at ONS, said:

She added that the new model may not be as accurate as those used to calculate previous data, but she thinks it provides useful insights and early insights into economic changes across the UK.

Portes said he wasn’t sure if the results actually worked. Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2021

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