Growth in factory activity rose back towards all-time highs in October despite production remaining constrained by supply delays and input and output price inflation hit fresh record levels, a survey showed today.
The AIB IHS Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 62.1 from 60.3 in September, having hit a record 64.1 in May.
Readings above 50 indicate overall rises in activity.
The PMI has now been above the 60 mark for seven months, having never previously passed that threshold, with the economy recovering rapidly as it brings to an end some of Europe's toughest lockdown measures.
A rise in output drove the overall increase as markets continued to reopen, manufacturers got through backlogged work, and customers placed advance orders to protect operations against delivery delays.
While new business growth remained well above the long-run survey average, it slipped to the weakest level since March as new export orders expanded only modestly during the month.
The survey's authors said a new record low in suppliers' delivery times signalled "unprecedented supply chain delays" as more than 60% of manufacturers reported longer lead times for the first time since data began to be collected in 1998.
Anecdotal evidence linked another sharp rise in input prices to a wide range of raw materials, transport charges, gas prices and Brexit-related issues, AIB added.