Construction index hits four-month high

The construction industry is expanding rapidly, with commercial building leading the way, and although the pace of gains in house-building slowed slightly from November it is at levels seen before the crash, according to Ulster Bank’s Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).

The overall index hit 56.3 in December, up from 55.5 in November, a four-month high.

“Overall, the December survey results round off another strong year for Irish construction firms, with the PMI pointing to ongoing very healthy expansion throughout 2018,” said Simon Barry, chief economist Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank.

“Moreover, momentum behind the sector’s recovery continues to look solid, with new orders continuing to rise solidly in December indicating that activity trends look set to remain positive in early 2019.”

The commercial construction activity index hit 58.5 in December, up sharply from 57.5 in November.

Housing activity growth moderated somewhat to a reading of 56 from 58.2.

A reading above 50 indicates expanding activity.

Civil engineering activity, however, bucked the stronger trend seen in commercial and housing construction, with the sector reading coming in at 45.5.

The rising levels of activity were mirrored in stronger employment in the sector, and the survey showed that the number of jobs in the sector rose for the 64th successive month.

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