Building sector sees spike in growth rate
The pace of growth in the construction sector quickened in December, according to a new report.
Ulster Bank's latest purchasing managers' index for the sector indicates Irish building firms saw a spike in new orders, with the rate of job growth rising also.
The headline figure for the index was 58.6 - up from 55.5 in November. A figure over 50 indicates growth.
Activity has now increased in each of the past 28 months, with the latest expansion the strongest since July.
Simon Barry, Ulster Bank's chief economist for the Republic of Ireland, said the Irish construction sector closed out 2015 "on a firm footing".
"Overall activity trends were buoyed by a strong acceleration in both commercial and housing activity, with the pick-up in the residential arena a particularly welcome development given concerns about the housing supply shortfall. Growth in civil engineering continues to lag some way behind the other sectors though it did record a fourth consecutive month of expansion last month," Mr Barry said.
"Overall, the December survey results indicate that Irish construction firms were reporting solid momentum as a second full year of recovery drew to a close. The new orders index continues to show vibrant expansion, with increasing enquiries for new business pointing to a healthy near-term".