Service sector employment growth at its weakest in six years

New order growth in sector eases as Brexit uncertainty hits customer demand

The headline seasonally adjusted business activity index posted 55.0 in July, down from 56.9 in June

The headline seasonally adjusted business activity index posted 55.0 in July, down from 56.9 in June

 

Business activity in the service sector expanded at its slowest pace in three months in July as exports fell for the first time since November 2016.

The latest AIB services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) also shows that employment growth in the sector was at its weakest in over six years last month.

According to the indicator, new order growth eased to a three-month low in July as panellists said Brexit uncertainty was hitting customer demand.

The headline seasonally adjusted business activity index posted 55.0 in July, down from 56.9 in June and signalling the softest rise in business activity for three months.

Job creation rose at its slowest pace since May 2013, with service providers saying they had taken on additional staff in anticipation of higher sales activity later this year.

Business confidence was at its lowest in three months due to Brexit uncertainty

On the price front, the rate of input cost inflation moderated to a 16-month low last month. However, cost burdens rose sharply, amid higher transport, fuel and staffing costs. With input prices increasing at a slower pace, the rate of output charge inflation softened to a three-month low.

Business confidence was at its lowest in three months due to Brexit uncertainty, with just under 43 per cent of all panellists surveyed expressing confidence in a rise in activity over the next 12 months.

“Although the headline index reading of 55.0 was lower than the 56.9 level registered in June, and represented the slowest pace of expansion in three months, the Irish level is well above the flash services July PMIs of 53.3 and 52.2 for the euro zone and US, respectively,” said AIB chief economist Oliver Mangan.