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Omicron Sees Business Activity in Dublin Expand at Softer Pace in Q4

The latest PMI survey shows that business activity in Dublin continued to increase during the final quarter of 2021 but at the slowest rate since Q1 when Ireland was in full lockdown. While the headline rate remained elevated at 59.4 it slowed from 62.1 in Q3, as the emergence of the Omicron variant at the end of the quarter impacted. Activity increased across all three monitored sectors, led by manufacturing. Output across the rest of Ireland also increased, but at a slightly weaker pace than that seen in Dublin.

For the third successive quarter there was strong growth in new orders with Dublin outpacing the rest of country. These positive new orders trends highlight the potential for robust activity in the coming quarters. 

Labour market trends also remained strong with Dublin companies expanding their staffing levels in Q4 as was the case in each of the four quarters of 2021. Employment also increased across the Rest of Ireland, but at a softer pace than that seen in the capital. 

Business Activity in Dublin and across Ireland continued to increase in the fourth quarter but tailed off at the end of 2021 as the Omicron variant saw restrictions being re-imposed. Although uncertainty surrounding new COVID-19 variants remain, the recent tentative decline of the Omicron wave gives hope for further expansion in business activity in 2022. 

Commenting on the PMI, Andrew Harker, Economics Director at IHS Markit said, “while the fourth quarter of 2021 as a whole was one of growth for the Dublin private sector, the sadly familiar concerns around the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic were at the fore at the end of the year amid the emergence of the Omicron variant. Firms will be hoping that disruption is less pronounced than in previous waves and that 2022 finally brings an end to restrictions on operations.”

Source: Dublin City Council

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