services sector growth picks up speed in June - InvestecWednesday 03 July 2013 19.28
Operating conditions in the country's services sector improved again in June, according to the latest Purchasing Managers index from Investec.
The improvement was broad-based with the four sub-sectors - business services, financial services, transport & leisure and technology, media & telecoms - indicating growth in business activity.
The PMI of services sector activity rose to 54.9 from 52.7 in May, well above the 50 line that separates growth from contraction, although short of the 2013 high of 56.8 hit in January.
Ireland's services sector accounts for 70% of GDP, although that includes retail, wholesale and public services not covered by the Investec survey.
The report shows that new business expanded for the eleventh month in a row, while new export business expanded for a 23rd successive month.
This improvement was put down to better client sentiment, successful marketing campaigns and stronger demand from both the US and UK.
Investec said that higher levels of new business and growing backlogs of work encouraged companies to take on more staff in June. Today's survey showed that employment in services companies rose markedly and at the fastest pace since January.
The survey also revealed a marked improvement in business sentiment with optimism levels at their strongest since May 2010. Many firms said they expect recent rises in new business to continue over the coming year.
Profits at Irish service companies rose during the second quarter of the year, the first rise in profitability since the December 2007 survey period.
Investec Ireland chief economist Philip O'Sullivan described the June result as "very encouraging" and said he expected positive results over the remainder of the year.
The economist said that a particular highlight within today’s report is the employment component, which points to the sharpest rate of job creation since January. He said that services firms in Ireland have been adding workers for each of the past ten months.
''This growth is widespread, with unadjusted data for each of the four sub-sectors covered by the survey posting an increase in employment during June, the third month running in which this has been the case,'' he added.