Construction growth at a five-month high
The rate of expansion in the construction sector here reached a five-month high last month.
There was a very sharp acceleration in commercial activity, according to the latest Purchasing Managers Index for the sector.
Housing activity continued to expand at a very rapid rate, although the pace of growth eased modestly in March.
Simon Barry, chief economist with Ulster Bank in Ireland, which produces the survey, said the data highlights the strength of expansion of activity in the sector.
"Strong demand for the services of construction firms was very much evident in further substantial increases in new orders, employment and input buying last month," Mr Barry said. "And respondents continue to judge the sector's outlook to be very favourable, with improving economic conditions, strengthening client demand and plans for business expansion cited as important sources of support."
The PMI rose for the second month running to 60.8 in March from 57.9 in February. This pointed to a sharp monthly increase in total construction activity, and the most marked since last October. For the first time this year so far, the commercial construction category posted the fastest increase in activity during March.