Construction activity surged in January
Growth in the construction sector rose at its fastest pace in seven months during January, with firms in the sector hiring more staff as their workload increases, according to new data from the Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers' Index.
Figures released this morning show that the index rose to 63.6 in January, from 58.6 in December. Any reading over 50 indicates expansion, any figure below, contraction.
The rate of expansion last month was the fastest since June last year, and the sector has now expanded in each of the last 29 months.
Simon Barry, chief economist for the Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, said the latest data shows that the construction sector has got off to a "very strong start" in 2016. "The New Orders and Employment indices both also rose to seven-month highs in January indicating that the pace of overall activity, new business and hiring have all accelerated meaningfully in the early part of the New Year," he said.
He added that growth has been reported in all parts of the construction sector, including housing, commercial and civil engineering. The rate of growth in housing construction was at its fastest since October 2014.
Mr Barry said that several important areas of the domestic economy seem to carrying considerable momentum into 2016.