Activity in Irish services sector grows at fastest rate since 2007
Good summer weather and further sign of upswing in economy boost numbers
Good summer weather and further signs of an upswing in the economy saw the country’s services sector grow at its fastest rate in six years last month.
The latest Investec Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) of services sector activity rose to 61.6 in August from 57.6 the previous month.
This was the highest reading recorded since February 2007, and comfortably above the all-important 50 mark, which denotes an expansion in activity.
“The principal cause of rising activity in August was the spell of unusually good weather in Ireland and the consequent boost to the tourism sector,” said Investec’s chief economist Philip O’Sullivan.
He said, however, expectations of activity in 12 months’ time, while quite positive, remained broadly unchanged “indicating the short-term nature of the current strength”.
“In saying that, with the headline index having improved for 13 consecutive months and service providers citing signs of improvement in economic conditions, the underlying trends are certainly positive,” he added.
Service providers, ranging from hotels and hairdressers to IT firms and telecoms, were among the worst hit in the recession.
Investec’s sub-index for new business recorded it fastest rate of growth since March 2007, with respondents citing “increased new business from both domestic and export markets”.
New export orders expanded for a 25th successive month and hit a seven-month high.
Irish services companies also increased their staffing levels during the month, with respondents citing “greater workloads”.
“Despite slowing from July, the rate of job creation in August was still marked,” the survey noted.