Manufacturing falls at fastest pace in 4 years

Manufacturing output fell at its fastest pace for nearly four years last month, with employment levels in the manufacturing sector showing their sharpest decline since late 2011.

Weakening market demand was the main factor in the lower production levels, according to the latest edition of the monthly manufacturing purchasing managers’ index, from NCB Stockbrokers.

The index — which fell to a reading of 48 points, from 48.6 (anything below a reading of 50 points signifies a sector in decline) last month — also shows that new business orders declined for the third time in four months.

“According to respondents, deteriorating economic conditions — in Ireland and across Europe — had been behind the fall. New export orders also declined, despite some reports of growth in sales across Asian markets,” the latest index said.

Overall output from Irish-based manufacturers declined for the second consecutive month, in April, with the latest dip happening at the sharpest rate since Aug 2009. The fall in employment levels, among respondent companies, was also the biggest seen since Sep 2011.

“Employment had been a highlight of the Manufacturing PMI during 2012 ... However, April saw the fastest rate of decline in manufacturing employment since September 2011,” noted Philip O’Sullivan, chief economist with NCB.

“When the previous PMI reading [for March] revealed an end to an impressive 12-month sequence of growth for the manufacturing sector, we described it as a ‘disappointing release’, adding that we would be monitoring ‘to see if any of these trends have persisted into the second quarter, paying particular attention to see if the elevated macro-economic uncertainty … weighs on survey findings’. On the evidence of today’s report, the second quarter got off to an uninspiring start for the Irish manufacturing sector.”


A host of Irish and international writers will read on Leeside, writes Marjorie Brennan.The eight must-sees of Cork Short Story festival

He has helped numerous couples blossom on their big day and florist and wedding specialist Peter Tora had no shortage ofexperience in planning his own nuptial celebration with Brendan O’Sullivan, writes Eve Kelliher.Wedding of the week: Love blossoms for florist Peter and his groom Brendan

The demands of daily life do not cease upon diagnosis of cancer, says social worker Denis Spillane, who works with cancer patients of the Mercy University Hospital, and says financial worries add to their stress.Making Cents: The financial cost of a cancer diagnosis

In January of 1994, RTÉ reporter Tommie Gorman was given a diagnosis that would change his life.Examine Yourself: Getting cancer made sense of everything for Tommie Gorman

More From The Irish Examiner