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Economic overview

Ards and North Down boasts a skilled workforce, thriving economy and is home to a number of successful companies.

Industry facts & figures

Ards and North Down boasts a skilled workforce, thriving economy and is home to a number of successful companies.


Claimant Count

Currently, during the Coronavirus Pandemic, the claimant count in Ards and North Down is 4.5% of the working age population. The Northern Ireland rate is 6.3% of the working age population.

 In 2019, Ards and North Down had an annual average claimant count of 2,160 (2.2% of the working age population), lower than the Northern Ireland average of 2.5%


In 2020, Ards and North Down had 500 confirmed redundancies (13.8% of the Northern Ireland total)

NI Price House Index In the third quarter of 2020, Ards and North Down had a standardised price of £163,456

Largest Industries

The top five industry sectors by business numbers are:

1. Construction

2. Agri-Forest

3. Professional

4. Retail 

5. Arts, Entertainment, Recreation

Case studies

Ards and North Down Borough is home to a variety of successful companies and key exporters. Find out more about some of them below.


Bombardier Logo

Bombardier is the largest manufacturer in Northern Ireland and its Newtownards facility is one of several sites here.  The company produces major aircraft structures in metal and advanced composites and is responsible for around 10 per cent of Northern Ireland's total manufactured exports.  Its Corry Street operation currently specialises in sheet-metal component fabrication.

John Huddleston Engineering

John Huddleston Magellan AerospaceOne of our own local indigenous companies, John Huddleston Engineering, which makes precision components for the aerospace and defence industries, was acquired in 2012 by another Canadian aerospace company Magellan Aerospace with a subsequent increase in employment from 75 to 112 employees.



Denroy Plastics Ltd

Denroy Logo

Another key company working within the sector is Denroy Plastics Ltd, which enjoys a world class reputation of supplying and working with the aerospace sector. The Company is recognised for its work with high grade engineering polymers and recent success is demonstrated through a multi-million-dollar five-year contract with a US based wing manufacturer.

The Echlinville Distillery

Echlinville LogoThe Echlinville Distillery became Northern Ireland's first licensed distillery in over 125 years distilling its first spirit in 2013.

The soul of any spirit is its connection to the place where it is made. Echlinville are proud of their roots in the Ards Peninsula, and that sense of place is the essence of their premium spirits. Their homegrown barley and locally foraged gin botanicals, including Strangford Lough seaweed and indigenous whin bush petals, give Echlinville’s whiskeys and gins a true connection to the place where they are made.

Echlinville is a family-run distillery and they love to share their devotion to quality spirits with visitors from around the world. Echlinville’s visitor experiences include tours, tastings and special ‘stay and distil’ experiences, which give whiskey enthusiasts the opportunity to distil their own unique cask while staying at the 19th century Echlinville Manor House. Private tours and bespoke group packages are also available on request.

The distillery's premium Whiskey, Vodka & Gin is distributed and enjoyed worldwide.

Mash Direct

Mash Direct LogoMash Direct is an independent, family owned farming and food production enterprise launched by Martin and Tracy Hamilton in 2004 at their farm in County Down, close to the shores of Strangford Lough. They are the market leader in quality, convenient vegetable and potato dishes ranging from traditional accompaniments of mashed potato and champ to complete ready-meals. Their award-winning range of potato and vegetable products is expanding every year and Mash Direct is now the top selling brand in chilled side dishes in the UK and Ireland. The company supplies most of the supermarkets in Ireland, UK and more recently has started exporting to the UAE.