Building declines every month over five years
Activity in the construction sector remained in decline during May and has now fallen in each month of the past five years, according to latest data from the Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers Index.
New orders decreased at a “solid rate” during the month, the survey found.
Falling workloads led to a further reduction in staffing levels and firms cut their purchases of inputs at an accelerated pace.
The Ulster Bank PMI recorded an activity level of 46.3 in May. A figure of 50.0 indicates a decline in activity.
Simon Barry, Ulster Bank’s chief economist, said all three principal sub-sectors continued to experience contraction, with housing activity recording the sharpest pace of retrenchment.
“There was some easing in the rate of decline in civil engineering, where activity fell at its slowest pace in over four years,” he said.
“However, this sub-sector remains very much in contraction mode, as does commercial activity, where the pace of contraction accelerated to its fastest pace since last October.”
Mr Barry said the “wider” construction sector remained “bedevilled” by a scarcity of new business.