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Service sector continued to grow in March

THE services sector continued to grow in March while employment levels in the services sector grew for the first time in 11 months in March, new figures show.

Employment has only risen above the 50 mark on a monthly basis twice since February 2008 when the first signs of the country's financial crisis emerged.



The NCB Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which measures activity in the services sector, fell to 52.1 from 53.3 in February but it stayed above the 50 mark that signals growth for the second month in a row.



NCB said that total new business increased for the second month in a row in March with some companies saying they had managed to secure new clients.



New export business rose for the eighth month in a row, with Asian markets the key sources of growth.



Today's index reveals that Irish services firms increased employment levels for the first time in 11 months, however the increase was quite slight.



The higher staffing levels was linked to increased workloads.