Services sector down in January
THE services sector shrank in January for the second month in a row in January but export orders increased.
The NCB purchasing managers index stood at 48.3, compared with 48.4 in December with any reading below 50 showing a drop in activity.
According to NCB economist Brian Devine, the biggest drop was the employment index which fell from 47.3 to 44.5, the sharpest drop since April 2010.
In that period, 24pc of firms laid off staff while 9pc took people on.
But confidence in services companies rebounded from December's 13-month low, recording 63.6.
The rate of cost inflation accelerated in January to 55, mainly due to higher fuel costs and a fall in the euro's value.