Business Irish

Sunday 19 February 2017

Construction output stays strong in March

Published 11/04/2016 | 02:30

Ulster Bank Republic of Ireland chief economist Simon Barry
Ulster Bank Republic of Ireland chief economist Simon Barry

The level of new construction weakened in March but still remains close to historic highs, new figures have shown.

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The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fell to 62.3 in March, down from 68.8 in February.

Despite the fall, the sector remains firmly in growth mode.

The PMI measures data across the industry and collates it into a single number. A figure above 50 indicates the construction sector is expanding, under 50 means it is contracting.

Ulster Bank Republic of Ireland chief economist Simon Barry said the changes reflected good news continuing in the industry.

"The latest survey results show that activity in Irish construction continued to expand at a rapid rate in March, albeit that the pace of growth eased somewhat from the record levels recorded in February.

"Some pull-back from last month's all-time survey high is not particularly surprising, and at 62.3, the headline PMI index continues to point to very strong expansion.

"It's a similar story at the level of each of the major sub-sectors, with growth easing but remaining robust in the commercial, housing and civil engineering areas," he added.

"Firms continue to report solid flows of new business. In turn, greater availability of tender opportunities continues to underpin increases in staffing levels which have been on the rise for over two and a half years now.

"And firms remain solidly optimistic that activity will increase further over the coming year. Over 60pc of firms anticipate further improvement over the next twelve months, partly reflecting positive expectations regarding the outlook for the wider Irish economy," Mr Barry claimed.

Irish Independent

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