DUBLIN — Ireland’s services industries picked up last month ahead of the government ending a third coronavirus lockdown, according to a survey of around 400 businesses published on Thursday.
The jump was the strongest since the pandemic started, going by April’s Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), which said “total activity and new business both increased at the fastest rates since February 2020.”
Published by Allied Irish Banks (AIB) and IHS Markit, which produces monthly PMIs covering manufacturing and services in dozens of countries, the survey reported rising employment in media, telecoms and financial services, but said there was “broadly no change” in tourism or leisure, sectors unlikely to reopen until later this year.
“Although much of the services sector remains in lockdown, the data are encouraging,” said AIB economist Oliver Mangan.
In April, the government slightly relaxed a lockdown in place since late last year, widening the ‘non-essential’ travel limit from five kilometers of a home and returning all classes to school.
A wider relaxation will see non-essential retail reopen from May 17, a week after in-person religious services resume and nationwide travel is allowed again, though services businesses such as pubs, restaurants and hotels will have to wait until June.
Some pubs have been forced to stay closed since March 2020, since when Ireland’s pandemic-control measures have been regularly listed as Europe’s longest-lasting and most restrictive in a University of Oxford ranking.
Dublin was on Wednesday again criticised for forcing arrivals from five fellow European Union member states to quarantine in expensive hotels, with French ambassador Vincent Guerend slamming the requirement, which has not been emulated elsewhere in the bloc, as “unnecessarily harsh.”Show