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Service sector grows at fastest pace in eight months

By April 4, 2024No Comments

The service sector grew at its fastest pace in eight months in March, new figures show.

The latest AIB Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) reveals that the index reached 56.6, up from 54.4 in February.

Readings above 50 indicate overall growth in activity.

“The acceleration in activity was broad-based and points to improving business conditions throughout the first quarter of 2024,” said David McNamara, AIB Chief Economist.

All four sub-sectors monitored registered higher activity in March.

Financial Services posted the fastest growth for the fourth month running.

The three remaining sectors all registered similarly strong rates of expansion, led by Business Services, Transport, Tourism & Leisure and Technology, Media & Telecoms.

The March data signalled that the improved momentum in total activity was driven by higher inflows of new work, extending the current growth sequence that began in March 2021.

Service providers continued to invest in their workforces in response to stronger demand for their products and services.

However, the rate of job creation eased from February’s eight-month high, but remained solid overall.

Financial Services posted the sharpest increase in staffing at the end of the first quarter.

The data shows that inflationary pressures subsided last month.

“On the input side, the rate of inflation eased for the first time in four months but was still the second- fastest rate since June 2023,” said Mr McNamara.

“Wages, utilities, and fuel were all cited as being more expensive by respondents in March,” he said.

“Firms continued to raise prices for customers, but output inflation also slowed on the month. At the sectoral level, inflation was strongest in the Technology, Media & Telecoms sector, where input costs accelerated to a 12-month high,” he added.

Business sentiment about the prospects for activity over the coming 12 months also moderated.

Article Source – Service sector grows at fastest pace in eight months – RTE

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