Index records fall in construction activity in August
CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY fell in August at the fastest pace since September 2011, according to the latest Ulster Bank construction purchasing managers’ index.
Sentiment has dropped to the weakest level since December 2010.
The index posted 40.7 in August, down from 42.2 the previous month.
Index readings below 50 indicate a decrease in activity, while readings above 50 indicate an increase.
John Fahey, economist with Ulster Bank, said that from a sectoral perspective the weakness recorded in August was broad-based, with all three of the main sub-sectors experiencing declining activity.
Civil engineering activity scored 35.6, down from 37.1.
Housing was 39.1, down from 43.2, and commercial was 42.4, down from 42.7.
“Given the persistent falls in activity levels, the construction sector continues to shed jobs, albeit at a slightly slower pace.”
In relation to outlook, Mr Fahey described the near-term prospects as gloomy.
The new orders index, which is regarded as an important lead indicator, posted its fastest pace of contraction since December 2009, suggesting a challenging outlook for the construction industry over the coming months.
Weak demand in both the domestic and the foreign markets, as well as fragile confidence, were factors highlighted by panellists that recorded a fall in new orders.
Staffing levels declined in line with falling workloads. Employment has fallen each month since May 2007.