The rate of growth in Ireland's services sector slowed somewhat in May, according to the latest Purchasing Managers' Index from Investec.

The survey found the rate of growth in new business had not changed, but growth in new export business had slowed somewhat as import prices continued to rise.

The headline PMI came in at 59.5 versus April’s 61.1 reading.

According to the research, businesses reported insufficient staffing levels to respond to inflows of new work last month, which Investec says is "presumably a key factor behind the latest rise in sector employment".

On the margin side, the index found input prices posted another strong rise in May, with companies citing higher staffing, fuel and insurance costs.

The forward-looking 'Business Activity: Expected Levels in 12 Months' index strengthened to a three-month high in May, with nine times as many respondents predicting an increase in business activity over the next 12 months, compared with those that forecast a decrease.