Strong services sector growth improves in September

New survey shows firms are hiring at the fastest pace this year

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock

 

Growth in the services sector improved to a three-month high in September, a survey showed on Wednesday, prompting firms to tap an increasingly tight labour market and hire staff at the fastest pace this year.

The Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 58.7 from 58.0 in August. The index has remained above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction since August 2012.

The sub-index measuring employment increased to 58.2 from 58.0 a month earlier following a survey on Monday that showed an even sharper pace in the rate of growth of hiring in Irish factories.

While Irish factory growth gave up some momentum as a whole, it remained comfortably above the euro zone average as an escalating global trade war slowed growth across the bloc to a two-year low.

“Latest PMI data indicated that the Irish economy continued to perform strongly at the end of the third quarter,” said Andrew Harker, Associate Director at IHS Markit.

“Companies responded to increasing workloads by taking on extra staff at a pace not seen since the end of last year. Confidence around future growth of activity also improved, boding well for a positive end to 2018.” – Reuters