Quarterly Economic Survey Q3 2022
13 October 2022
Escalating costs and indications of a slow-down in demand are impacting Northern Ireland’s economic performance, according to the findings of the latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) report for Q3 22, published today (Thursday 13 October) by NI Chamber and business advisers BDO NI.
The Q3 2022 QES findings suggest cause for concern around Northern Ireland’s economic performance driven in large part by escalating costs but also worryingly signs of slowdown in demand. The acute inflationary pressures are affecting almost all members and most aspects of doing business – rising utilities, labour and fuel costs and the persistent issue of high raw material costs particularly for manufacturers. This is placing significant pressure on firms to raise prices. One of the biggest emerging
concerns this quarter is the negative consequences for business profitability with more members seeing profitability falling than rising in the next year. The manufacturing confidence balance is down at levels experienced during the Financial Crash. In addition, 3 in 5 members are seeing some slowdown in demand for their goods/services, reflecting challenging economic conditions nationally and
A number of key indicators turned negative in Q3 22, particularly for manufacturing, after what had been a good post COVID rebound. Order books for domestic and export sales showed signs of weakening in both sectors. More members are operating below capacity (61% vs. 47% Q2 22). Along with profitability, cashflow remains a key concern and the cashflow position of more businesses deteriorated in Q3
22. However, recruitment is still taking place in both sectors and with that the persistent challenge of finding staff, a factor influencing rising labour costs.
In total, 184 members responded to the NI Chamber of Commerce & Industry Quarterly Economic Survey (QES), in partnership with BDO, for the 3rd quarter of 2022. Together they account for over 33,000
employees in Northern Ireland. The fieldwork for the Quarter 3 22 survey took place between 25 August –12 September 2022. The war in Ukraine was officially confirmed on the 24th of February 2022. The UK’s mini budget took place after the QES fieldwork on 23rd September 2022 so any impact is not reflected in these results.