Services growth slowed to a near standstill in November, hurt again by lagging tourism and leisure activity as customers became more cautious due to rising economic uncertainty and high inflation.

The AIB S&P Global Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the sector fell to 50.8 from 53.2 in October.

The index remains just above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction for the 21st successive month but at stronger levels than those seen in all major trading partners.

However, the survey was further evidence that the economy is slowing down after data on Friday showed consumer spending grew by just 0.3% in the third quarter.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe also said he expected months of softer growth.

It also meant the composite PMI contracted for the first time since February 2021 after manufacturing activity went into reverse for the first time in two and a half years last month.

While today's data showed that technology and telecoms, financial services and business services remained in positive territory, the main source of weakness was in the transport, tourism and leisure sub-sector which slumped to a 40.2 reading.

Growth in new export business also slowed markedly.

More positively, the service sector workforce continued to expand in November while prices charged eased to a three-month low and the rate of input price inflation remained below the trend for 2022 after accelerating slightly.

"Nearly all of the main components of the Irish survey showed clear signs of a weakening trend in November," AIB's chief economist Oliver Mangan said.

"The one ray of light was another impressive rise in employment. However, firms' outlook for the next 12 months fell back again, as recession fears, the energy crisis and rising inflation all weighed on confidence," the economist added.