Growth in construction continues in December as new orders rise

Optimism among Irish construction firms picks up from a 64-month low last month

Construction activity growth reached a four-month high in December with job creation in the sector rising for the 64th month in succession.

The latest Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which follows the sector’s performance every month, reached 56.3 in December, up from 55.5 the previous month.

Commercial activity grew at the fastest pace in five months during December while residential construction also increased, albeit at a slower pace than in November.

New orders rose for the 66th month in succession while job creation also picked up on the back of expectations of increased business this year.


Purchasing activity rose at the fastest pace in nine months while on the price front, the rate of input inflation quickened in December.

Optimism among Irish construction firms picked up from a 64-month low during the month with close to half of survey respondents expecting increased activity in 2019.

Simon Barry, the lender's chief economist for the Republic, said 2018 was another strong year for Irish construction firms.

“Momentum behind the sector’s recovery continues to look solid, with new orders continuing to rise solidly in December indicating that activity trends look set to remain positive in early 2019,” he said.

“Furthermore, firms themselves remain optimistic about the coming year with almost half of respondents expecting further growth in activity in the coming 12 months,” Mr Barry added.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist