Tuesday 24 October 2017

Activity in services firms grew fastest in 19 months in August

Empty cubicles in office
Empty cubicles in office

Ailish O’Hora

FIRMS in the services industry recorded their fastest growth rate in 19 months in August as new business and employment in the sector rose.

The latest PMI data from NCB showed the index rose to 53.9 in September from 51.7 in August as confidence also gained.

New business in both the domestic and international markets improved.

''It is encouraging to see panellists report an improvement in new business in both domestic and international markets, and this is helping to feed into an improvement in services employment, which grew for the first time in six months,'' said NCB economist Philip O'Sullivan.

The growth bucked the trend in the eurozone area where a flash survey from last month showed the sector shrank the fastest since July 2009.

The PMI also showed that average selling prices fell further last month.

“With expectations at a six-month high, buoyed by planned business expansions and new product launches, we would expect to see the positive momentum in business activity sustained over the coming months," he said.

Earlier this week, a report showed that Irish manufacturing growth picked up in September thanks to more gains in output and new orders, but orders from abroad fell for the first time in seven months.

Despite obvious blackspots like unemployment and private debt, the Irish economy has been one of the more resilient in the euro zone during the debt crisis, growing by 1.4pc last year, when strong exports made up for weak domestic demand.

(Additional reporting Reuters)

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