Syndicated News

Irish services sector expands at highest rate in five years as euro zone optimism grows

IRELAND’S services sector is expanding at levels last seen five years ago while the euro zone’s economic slump was a little less pronounced in November than previously thought, business surveys showed today.

The NCB Services purchasing managers index, which gauges business activity across hundreds of companies, remained at a five-year high of 56.1 for a second month in November as Irish companies remained upbeat about their prospects and won new contracts from domestic and foreign companies.

The services sector has enjoyed a strong run lately as exports boom. Managers are also reporting that they are taking on people for the third successive month. Respondents to November’s survey reported the sharpest rate of employment expansion in 63 months.

The new survey “provides much to be cheerful about”, said NCB economist Philip O’Sullivan.

The Irish figures contrasted with gloomier figures elsewhere.

Britain’s dominant service sector saw growth at its slowest pace in nearly two years as new orders fell, suggesting the economy could start contracting again. Euro-area services and manufacturing output shrank for a tenth month in November, suggesting the single currency zone may struggle to pull out of a recession as governments toughen spending cuts to fight the sovereign-debt crisis.

By Thomas Molloy.

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