Manufacturing growth accelerates
Container ships docked in Dublin Port: the latest NCB Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index shows activity in the sector has now expanded for 12 successive months. Photograph: Aidan Cawley
The rate of growth in Ireland’s manufacturing sector accelerated last month as businesses reported signs of strengthening demand.
The latest NCB Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 51.5 in February, up from 50.3 in January. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
Irish manufacturing activity has now expanded for 12 successive months.
A breakdown of the numbers showed new orders returned to growth in February, following a marginal reduction in January.
While the rate of expansion in new orders was only slight, businesses reported signs of strengthening demand and the securing of new clients, NCB said.
The survey also showed manufacturers increased their staffing levels in February as employment returned to growth following a decrease in the previous month.
According to respondents, increased employment reflected a rise in new orders and expectations of higher production requirements in coming months.
Investment goods firms posted the fastest rate of job creation.
The NCB’s sub-index for output rose for a tenth successive month in February, while new export orders were broadly unchanged after rising slightly the previous month.
Respondents said input costs continued to increase, with the rate of inflation unchanged over the month.
“With the headline PMI reading pointing to a 12th successive month of growth for the Irish manufacturing sector, and the rate of expansion improving from the 9 month low in January, this is a solid outturn,” NCB's chief economist Philip O'Sullivan said.