Skip to content
The information is accurate as of 31 December 2022.
Data courtesy of Beauhurst.

Comprehensive Performance Report for Northern Ireland


The purpose of this comprehensive report is to analyse and evaluate the performance of various councils within the region of Northern Ireland, focusing on a range of metrics from employment figures to sector growth and business dynamics. This analysis is based on aggregated data from the year 2022, providing insights into the economic landscape of the region and identifying key areas of growth and concern.

Population and Employment Overview

The table below ranks each council by the number of employees relative to their population, providing a clear view of employment density across the region:

Council Name Number of Employees Population Employees per 1000 Residents
Belfast 279,726 348,005 804
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon 78,952 220,271 359
Antrim and Newtownabbey 51,260 146,148 351
Lisburn and Castlereagh 48,684 149,915 325
Mid Ulster 56,094 151,001 371
Newry, Mourne and Down 47,033 182,634 258
Derry City and Strabane 25,990 150,836 172
Fermanagh and Omagh 35,015 116,994 299
Mid and East Antrim 22,949 139,200 165
Causeway Coast and Glens 23,228 141,316 164

Business Dynamics and Sector Analysis

Across the region, the ‘Wholesale and retail trade / repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles’ sector dominates, with significant employment figures reported in Belfast, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, and Antrim and Newtownabbey. However, the ‘Construction’ sector also shows strong presence particularly in Mid Ulster and Newry, Mourne and Down, indicating a robust physical infrastructure development.

Interestingly, Belfast stands out with a high number of employees in companies that raised funds in 2022, particularly in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) sector, suggesting a burgeoning tech scene. Conversely, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon reported only one employee in companies that raised funds, highlighting potential areas for economic stimulation.

Investment and Innovation

Belfast again leads in innovation, with the highest number of patent owners and companies attending accelerator programs. This is indicative of a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a supportive ecosystem for innovation. On the other hand, areas like Causeway Coast and Glens show a lack of entries in the top sectors for companies that raised funds, which could signal a need for more targeted economic development policies.

Business Stability and Longevity

The analysis of business continuity reveals that Belfast had the highest number of companies that ceased operations in 2022, which could be attributed to its larger economic size and diversity. In contrast, Mid Ulster and Newry, Mourne and Down show higher resilience with fewer companies ceasing operations, suggesting stronger business stability in these areas.

Conclusion and Recommendations

This report highlights the diverse economic landscape of Northern Ireland’s councils, with varying strengths and opportunities for growth across different sectors and regions. Belfast emerges as a leader in employment, innovation, and sectoral diversity, while other regions show potential for targeted economic development initiatives to boost sectoral participation and business stability.

It is recommended that councils with lower employment density and business activity consider policies to attract investments, enhance skills training, and support local entrepreneurship to stimulate economic growth and resilience. Additionally, fostering a collaborative environment among councils could lead to more balanced regional development and prosperity.

The future outlook for Northern Ireland’s councils looks promising, with opportunities for leveraging strengths in traditional sectors like construction and retail, while also expanding into emerging sectors such as technology and services. Strategic planning and investment in these areas will be crucial for sustained economic success.

The information is accurate as of 31 December 2022.
Data courtesy of Beauhurst.