Rapid manufacturing growth continued at a similar level in April compared to a month earlier as the strongest boost to employment in almost a year mostly offset a slight slowdown in new orders and output growth, a survey showed today.

The AIB S&P Global manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell slightly to 59.1 from 59.4 in March.

That was still among the highest marks set in nearly 24 years of data collection, each set during the last 12 months.

Input price inflation eased from March's record level but was still among the highest ever, leading to a record rise in output prices.

Inflation hit a near 40-year high of 7.3% in April, according to estimates from Eurostat on Friday.

"The Irish data for April paint a very similar picture to March, with strong growth in orders, output and employment, but less confidence on the outlook for business activity and continuing very elevated inflationary pressures," AIB chief economist Oliver Mangan said.

"Some 80% of manufacturers reported higher input prices in the month, including increases in raw materials, energy and fuel costs and raised their own prices by a survey-record degree for a second successive month," he added.