DUBLIN, June 1 Irish manufacturing posted its fastest growth in almost two years in May as employment surged, a survey showed on Wednesday, the latest sign the economy is weathering the early effects of from Britain's Brexit vote.
The Investec Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' index rose to a 22-month high of 55.9 in May from 55.0 in April its highest level since July 2015, remaining above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction.
Ireland, the EU's fastest-growing economy, is widely seen as the member most at risk from Brexit because of its close trading links with Britain, but after the muted impact so far, Dublin in April raised its forecasts for economic growth for 2017 and 2018.
New orders in manufacturing reached a three-month high, with twice as many respondents reporting increases in new orders as decreases, the survey showed.
The growth rate for new export orders eased slightly, but remained strong and above the series average.
Employment growth rose to its fastest pace in two years with a number of respondents saying they had taken on new staff on expectations of further workload increases.
Investec Ireland chief economist Philip O'Sullivan said the Irish economy appeared to be enjoying the benefit of an improving international backdrop, with his bank forecasting the world economy will grow 3.9 percent next year, its highest growth rate since 2011.
"Given such a supportive profile, we would anticipate further strong (Irish) manufacturing PMI readings over the coming quarters," he said.
(Reporting by Conor Humphries, editing by Larry King)