Construction activity grows strongly at end of 2014

Building sector optimistic of continued expansion in orders and activity

The building industry’s revival continued in December, albeit at the slowest pace in three months, according to the Ulster Bank Construction PMI. Photo: Getty Images

The building industry’s revival continued in December, albeit at the slowest pace in three months, according to the Ulster Bank Construction PMI. Photo: Getty Images

 

The building industry’s revival continued in December, albeit at the slowest pace in three months, according to new figures out today.

The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which tracks the sector’s performance on a monthly basis, hit 63.1 in December, indicating that the industry grew strongly during the month.

The figure was below the 63.5 recorded in November, but any reading over the benchmark of 50 indicates expansion on the previous month. Any result below that figure means that the sector contracted.

Ulster Bank said the average reading for 2014 as a whole was the highest since the series began in mid-2000.

Residential activity continued to rise sharply despite the pace of expansion slowing for the third month running.

Civil engineering activity, which includes large projects such as road building, increased for the third month in a row, and at the steepest pace since October 2006.

Ulster Bank chief economist for the Republic of Ireland, Simon Barry, said new orders have now increased for eighteen consecutive months, with this trend expected to continue.

“While the indices for housing and commercial activity declined in December, they both remained at very elevated levels, and civil engineering activity increased at its fastest pace in eight year,” he added.

Mr Barry said sentiment remained very bullish in December with approximately two thirds of respondents forecasting higher activity in twelve months’ time.

“The sustained expansion in orders and activity, along with high levels of optimism in relation to future business activity, meant firms continued to report increased staffing levels last month”.