A further decline in activity was recorded in the con-struction industry last month as new business fell.
Reducing workloads also led to cuts in employment and purchasing activity, according to the Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers' Index.
The rate of cost inflation quickened as higher oil and fuel costs produced rising prices. Those surveyed linked the latest fall in activity to lower levels of new orders amid weakened confidence.
Blow as Libya's new PM sacked
Libya's parliament ousted the country's newly-elected prime minister in a no-confidence vote, the latest blow to hopes that the country's factions could agree on a government charged with restoring stability after last year's civil war.
Mustafa Abushagur was Libya's first elected prime minister after last year's overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. He represented an offshoot of the country's oldest anti-Gaddafi opposition movement, and was considered a compromise candidate acceptable to both liberals and Islamists.
Tribute paid to fever victim
A married father who died in the UK's first case of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever has been described as "hard working and family orientated".
The 38-year-old, who had a young son, died in hospital on Saturday -- two days after laboratory tests confirmed he had the disease.
He returned to the UK from Afghanistan on Tuesday, via a connecting flight from Dubai.
His friend Mohammed Asif said he was an Afghan national who came to Britain seeking asylum several years ago and lived with his wife and young son in Glasgow.