Five months of growth in the Irish services sector came to a halt last month, according to the latest NCB Services Purchasing Managers' Index published today.
The index fell from 52.9 in August to 48.8 in September. Readings above 50 indicate growth, readings below 50 denote decline.
New business also fell into the red, plunging from 53.9 in August to 47.8 in September.
The rate of growth in confidence in the sector slowed in September, falling from 68.6 to 66, albeit remaining in positive territory. New exports remained static at 53.8.
There was some relatively good news in the report. Employment in the sector continued to decline, although the rate of decline slowed, the index rising from 47.4 to 49.8.
The index for profitability improved from 45.3 to 49.4.