Service sector growth accelerates
Irish service sector activity grew at the fastest pace in 19 months in September while new export orders helped push up employment for the first time since March, a survey showed today.
The NCB Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) of activity in the services sector rose to 53.9 from 51.7 the previous month, moving well above the 50 line that separates growth from contraction.
The growth bucked the trend in the euro zone, where a flash survey released last month showed the services sector across the currency block shrinking at its fastest since July 2009.
New business in Irish services firms grew at its sharpest rate in more than two years, with survey respondents mentioning new export orders from Japan, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Employment grew for the first time in six months, with the sub-index growing to 51.5 from 49.1.
"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," said Philip O'Sullivan, chief economist at NCB Stockbrokers.
"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.
A separate survey on Monday 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.