Manufacturing sector rebounds after subdued start to the year

Jobs were added at the fastest rate in two-and-a-half years last month

The Irish manufacturing sector rebounded in March with new orders and exports all rising for the first time since the end of 2020.

The AIB Ireland Manufacturing PMI also shows the 12-month outlook for production brightened and jobs were added at the fastest rate in two-and-a-half years.

The latest report reveals the PMI for March jumped to 57.1 in March from 52.0 in February and 51.8 in January. Any figure greater than 50.0 indicates overall improvement of the sector

"The sub-components of the Irish PMI survey all point to a big improvement in business conditions in the sector. Output returned to a strong growth path after contracting in the previous two months, driven by a marked pick-up in orders, including from abroad, as demand strengthened," said Oliver Mangan, AIB chief economist.


“This resulted in a rise in backlogs of unfilled orders for only the second month in the last two-and-a-half years. It also saw purchases on inputs increase at their strongest pace since March 2019. Meanwhile, employment rose for the sixth month running, growing at its fastest pace since September 2018.”

March survey data continued to reveal severe pressure on manufacturing supply chains. Average delivery times for inputs lengthened markedly again, with the first three months of 2021 seeing longer delays than in any other period in the near 23-year survey history except for April 2020 during the first Covid lockdown.