Manufacturing output and new orders increased in May
Manufacturing activity gained pace in May as output and new orders rose, and employment continued to expand.
The NCB Purchasing Manufacturers Index (PMI), which provides a measure of the health of the sector, climbed to 51.2 in May following April’s reading of 50.1. Output for the month reached 51, compared with April’s 48.7, and was the third rise in the past four months.
New orders were 51.1, the fourth increase in a row, with export orders remaining solid at 52.9 despite growth slowing.
Employment showed a rise for the third consecutive month, expanding to 54.4.
“Increased workloads encouraged companies to take on extra staff, and the rate of job-creation was solid during the month,” the report said.
Central Statistics Office data showed there was a 2.4 per cent increase in industrial employment in the final quarter of 2011.
“The evidence from the PMIs would suggest that this trend has continued into Q1 2012,” said NCB chief economist Brian Devine.
However, input prices continued to rise, slightly slowing from April, as manufacturers encountered higher costs for fuel and other oil-related products.
“Strong competition largely prevented firms from passing on increased costs to clients, however, and prices charged were reduced fractionally,” NCB said.