Manufacturing activity improves, production volumes rise

March 2, 2024

Business condition in the manufacturing sector improved in February, the latest AIB Purchasing Managers Index shows.

It comes as production growth accelerated to the highest in 22 months, amid a renewed improvement in order books.

The headline index increased to 52.2 from 49.5 in January – the first expansion in six months.

Readings above 50 indicate overall growth in activity.

Today’s data shows that staffing numbers increased last month, as manufacturers sought to boost production schedules and support long-term business development plans.

“A sharp rise in output and employment, alongside renewed new orders growth were the key features of the February PMI survey,” said David McNamara, AIB Chief Economist.

“The output Index rose to its highest level since April 2022, on the back of a strong upturn in domestic demand, with new orders rising for the first time in three months,” he added.

While new export orders were lower, owing to softer UK demand, Mr McNamara said the decline was marginal on the month.

“In an otherwise positive survey, a concerning trend is the continued disruption to shipping routes in the Red Sea, to which respondents attributed longer delivery times and higher input prices in February,” Mr McNamara said.

“This also drove the first increase in output prices since April 2023.”

Concerns remain for businesses in the sector, with the survey recording the lowest level of optimism since April last year.

The report states that this is due to lingering concerns about broader economic prospects at home and abroad.

The Irish PMI remains above the flash February readings for the US, Eurozone and UK.

Article Source – Manufacturing activity improves, production volumes rise – RTE

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