Growth in the services sector eased in October as inflationary pressures started to bite and new business grew at the slowest rate in seven months, a new survey showed today. 

The IHS Markit Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) slipped to 57.2 from 58.7 in September, which is the lowest level since March when activity was subdued by severe weather.

The services sector covers areas as diverse as communication, financial and business services, IT and the tourism trade.

The sub-index measuring new business was 58.1, down from 59.2 in September. 

Although the rate of growth in new business has slowed, service providers continued to experience strong inflows of new work in October, with an increase in orders from the UK that respondents put down to weakness in the euro. 

The survey also showed that the rate of prices charged ticked up, with service providers passing on higher business costs such as insurance to their customers. 

"Ireland's service sector showed signs of a slowdown during October, with both activity and new business rising at the weakest rates in seven months," said IHS Markit economist Amritpal Virdee. 

"Despite this, Irish service companies continued to take on extra staff, with employment growth accelerating to a ten-month high," the economist added.