Ulster Bank PMI report for April 2024

Business activity continues to rise amid further marked expansion of new orders

Key findings

  • New orders up sharply again
  • Rate of job creation quickens
  • Business confidence remains elevate


A further sharp rise in new orders fed through to continued growth of business activity in Northern Ireland's private sector during April. Business confidence also remained elevated and firms upped the pace of job creation. Meanwhile, input costs increased rapidly, but the pace of selling price inflation softened. Although the headline seasonally adjusted Business Activity Index dipped to 54.5 in April from 56.6 in March, the reading still signalled a marked monthly rise in business activity during the month. Output has now increased in each month since December. Output increased across all four monitored sectors, led by manufacturing where the pace of expansion quickened to a 25-month high. New orders increased sharply, with the rate of growth only slightly weaker than that seen in March. Meanwhile, new export orders neared stabilisation. Optimism that the current positive trends will continue over the next 12 months supported strong confidence in the outlook among companies in April. Sentiment was among the highest since the series was added to the survey in March 2017. The rate of job creation quickened for the second consecutive month and was the fastest since August last year. The solid rise in employment was not sufficient to prevent a build-up of backlogs of work, however, as the strength of new order growth meant that outstanding business rose for the first time in a year. Wage increases and higher shipping costs led to a sharp and accelerated increase in input prices. Output prices also rose, but the rate of inflation eased from the previous month.


Please see the regional report in full:


Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI (PDF, 1,321KB)

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