Ireland: Services PMI climbs in February
Activity in the Irish service sector accelerated in February, with the Investec service Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rising to 55.9, from 54.2 in January. The index, thus, moved further above the critical 50-point threshold that separates expansion from contraction; it has remained above the threshold for more than six years.
February’s print reflected stronger growth in output and new orders. Backlogs of work rose accordingly, and firms hired more workers, although the rate of staff in-take eased. The softer expansion in employment was likely owing to the non-replacement of staff leaving at some firms. Meanwhile, input cost inflation picked up, which led firms to raise output prices. Despite the upturn in the index, business sentiment among service providers slid to an over five-year low as concerns surrounding Brexit intensified.