There was a marked step-up in Irish business activity levels in the past three months with more companies reporting output gains and fewer reporting reduced output than at any other time in the past nine years.
This is according to the latest KBC Bank Ireland/ Chartered Accountants Ireland Business Sentiment Index.
The KBC Bank Ireland / Chartered Accountants Ireland Business Sentiment Survey reflects the view of chartered accountants working in senior positions (CEOs, MDs and FDs) in Ireland’s leading companies.
The Autumn 2015 survey was conducted between 14th and 20th October and the results presented are based on 363 completed responses.
The Index increased to 130.8 from 123.6 in the previous quarter. This is the strongest reading since the survey began in late 2006. The results suggest the upswing has become more broadly based of late and firms are increasingly confident that this will continue in the final months of 2015.
Chief Economist at KBC Bank Ireland, Austin Hughes commented, "A further step-up in activity levels has prompted more broadly based employment gains with 45% of firms reporting increases in their payrolls in the past three months.
"Perhaps surprisingly, the number of firms reporting a decline in headcount edged up to 11%. This may owe something to signs of emerging shortages of skilled staff in certain sectors but it also likely reflects the ‘new normal’ in which some firms may remain under pressure even in a generally healthy business climate."
Chartered Accountants Ireland Chief Executive, Pat Costello added, "The autumn survey suggests the economic upswing is now being felt much more broadly across the spectrum of Irish business with less than 6% of companies reporting weaker activity levels in the past three months, the lowest number in the nine years of the survey.
"In addition to this improvement in their immediate operating environment, firms are also more confident about the broader outlook for the Irish economy as a whole. So, both ‘micro’ and ‘macro’ factors are encouraging a rise in business sentiment."