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AIB PMI shows manufacturing downturn continues in May due to Covid-19

Irish manufacturing activity suffered a further severe deterioration last month, according to figures published today.

The AIB Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for May shows that although many indicators recovered some of the ground lost in April’s collapse, they still signalled rapid falls.

The PMI rose from April’s 11-year low of 36.0 to 39.2 in May.

The latest figure represented a slower month-on month overall deterioration in operating conditions than in April, the first full month of Covid-19 lockdown, but still a rapid contraction nonetheless.

The May figure was the eighth lowest on record, falling far short of March’s 45.1.

The output and new orders components both registered higher figures in May but still indicated stronger declines than in any survey period prior to April, dating back to May 1998.

“The AIB Irish Manufacturing PMI data for May paint a downbeat picture of the sector for the third month in a row as the lockdowns associated with the coronavirus pandemic continue to depress activity. At least the headline index managed to rise to 39.2 from 36.0 in April. It is also the case that the index fell to even lower levels in the 2008-09 recession, when it troughed at 33.2,” AIB’s Chief Economist Oliver Mangan said in a statement.

“Manufacturing output remained weak, with nearly 60% of respondents reporting lower production in May. Total new orders, including for exports, are mired at historically low levels, although their rates of decline eased. Employment in the sector continued to contract, but the pace of job shedding did slow appreciably from April,” he added.

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