Today sees the release of January data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI®. The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by Markit – pointed to faster rates of growth for output, new orders and employment in the Northern Ireland private sector, with activity increasing at the sharpest pace since September 2014. Meanwhile, the rate of cost inflation remained marked but firms were only able to increase their output prices at a marginal pace.
The main findings of the survey are:
- The headline seasonally adjusted Business Activity Index rose to 55.1 in January from 52.3 in the previous month, signalling a marked monthly rise in output that was the strongest since September 2014.
- Sector data showed widespread rises in output, led by services.
- The rate of expansion in new orders quickened for the third month running.
- New business has increased continuously since May 2015. The manufacturing sector posted a fall in new orders, but growth was recorded in the other three monitored sectors.
- A faster increase in total new business imparted capacity pressure on companies in Northern Ireland, resulting in a third consecutive monthly rise in backlogs of work.
- Moreover, the rate of accumulation was the strongest for a year-and-a-half.
- The solid increase in outstanding business in Northern Ireland contrasted with a fall across the UK as a whole.
- Higher workloads contributed to a further increase in employment. Moreover, the pace at which staffing levels rose was the fastest since June 2014.
- Northern Ireland companies continued to record marked increases in input prices during January, often reflecting higher staff costs.
- Services and construction posted the strongest rises in input prices. Some firms were able to increase their output prices in response to higher input costs, but the rate of inflation was only marginal.
You can download the full report here.