Construction activity rises sharply in December

Index of economic activity in the construction sector has recorded its fourth consecutive month of growth

Confidence is leading to improved new order levels for the construction sector, Ulster Bank says. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Confidence is leading to improved new order levels for the construction sector, Ulster Bank says. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

 

The construction sector recorded further strong growth at the end of 2013 as new orders rose sharply again. Purchasing activity and employment increased as a result, while record levels of optimism were registered, according to Ulster Bank.

The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index – which is designed to track changes in total construction activity – fell slightly between November and December, from 58.8 to 58.3, but remained well above the 50.0 no-change mark. The index still pointed to a substantial increase in construction activity in Ireland, according to Ulster Bank.

“Confidence among clients had led to improved new order levels, thereby supporting growth of activity,” said Simon Barry, chief economist Republic of Ireland at the bank. Sentiment about the outlook for the next 12 months hit a record high for the second month in a row, with two-thirds of firms expecting activity to be higher this time next year.