Services sector expands again in March, but pace slows
Services expanded at a robust pace again in March, as companies reported that new orders rose substantially, albeit at the slowest pace in more than a year.
The economy is forecast to be the fastest growing in the European Union for a second successive year in 2015, according to the results of a new survey.
A strong first quarter that saw unemployment fall to 10 percent from a high of over 15 percent in early 2012.
The Investec Purchasing Managers' Index of activity in the services sector, which covers businesses from banks to hotels, slipped to 60.9 from 61.4 in February. It had reached an eight-year high in December last year.
The index has stayed above 60 for a year and has not fallen below the 50-point line denoting growth since July 2012.
The new-business sub-index fell to 60.9 from 63.2 a month earlier, its lowest level since February 2014. That was still almost double the low the series dropped to in 2009 when Ireland's financial crisis began.
"Despite recent slippage, the expectations index remains well above the series average, signalling that services firms remain upbeat on their prospects," Investec Ireland chief economist Philip O'Sullivan said. "A tangible sign of this is the ongoing rise in payrolls in the sector,"
"Given these factors, we are confident that further encouraging Services PMI readings will be posted in the coming months," O'Sullivan added.
Detailed PMI data are only available under licence from Markit and customers need to apply to Markit for a licence.