Irish construction activity picks up again in July

Industry continued recovery from Covid-19 slump for second straight month

Construction activity rose for a second straight month in July as the industry continued to recover from a slump caused by a lockdown of the economy at the height of the coronavirus crisis, according to an Ulster Bank report.

The Ulster Bank Construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) – a seasonally adjusted index designed to track changes in total construction activity – rose to 53.2 in July, up from 51.9 in June.

The reading signalled a second successive monthly increase in construction activity, and one that was the fastest in just under a year. Index readings above 50 signal an increase in activity on the previous month and readings below 50 signal a decrease.

The index had collapsed to just 4.5 in April as construction ground to a halt as it was hit by Covid-19 restrictions.


"Overall, the pick-up in the July PMI is an encouraging sign that the recovery in construction activity regained some further growth momentum early in the second half of the year," said Ulster Bank economist Simon Barry.

“And other details within the survey also offered some encouragement. A welcome pick-up in new orders left the July reading back in positive growth territory and at a six-month high of 53.8. The employment index has also recorded further trend improvement last month, with a reading of 47.5 signalling the slowest contraction in employment since the coronavirus hit the Irish economy.”

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times