It looks like Ireland can make a lot more than just top-shelf whiskey and delicious boxties. With the nation’s production output at its highest levels in over fifteen years, Ireland is staking out a position as one of Europe’s top manufacturers.
Well Above Continental Average
According to the Markit Purchasing Manager’s Index—that’s “the PMI” if you’re hip to the lingo—significant growth in new orders and production lifted the Emerald Isle’s PMI number to 57.5 for the month of February. Anything above a PMI of 50 represents expansion.
The Eurozone’s average manufacturing PMI in February was 51.0, staying roughly even with January’s numbers. France, Austria, and—unsurprisingly, considering everything else going on with their national economy—Greece saw their manufacturing sectors shrink in the cold swimming pool water of February. France saw the most significant contraction.
How Far Offshore is “Offshore”?
With its continued PMI growth, it appears as though Ireland is becoming one of “mainland” Europe’s key suppliers of offshore services, taking on manufacturing projects that others don’t have the capacity or, in some instances, the capabilities to handle. Manufacturing jobs in Ireland reached have their highest numbers in 17 years.
It is unclear, however, if this actually counts as “offshore manufacturing,” since Ireland is just a hop and a skip from Europe proper, and, of course, within spitting distance of England, whence much of Europe’s manufacturing originates.
Ireland has seen steady and sustained PMI growth for some time now, but that’s no guarantee of future growth. According to Philip O’Sullivan, Investec’s chief economist and Irish naming archetype, “any uncertainty ahead of the upcoming UK election, given that Ireland’s closest neighbor has repeatedly been identified by manufacturers as a key source of demand, is likely to put that to the test.”
Typical English: looking to steal good stuff from the Irish and leave them in the lurch.