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Construction activity continues to fall as decline in unemployment eases

The weakest fall in activity was seen on housing projects and commercial and civil engineering each saw a slightly quicker reduction in activity.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

IRISH CONSTRUCTION FIRMS continued to record falling business activity in February, with the rate of decline little-changed from that seen in January.

Figures released by Ulster Bank in the latest Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index show that, despite the continued fall in activity, new orders and employment declined at slower rates.

The index posted a reading of 45.3 in February, slightly lower than the 45.8 posted in January. This signaled a marked, and slightly quicker reduction in construction activity during the month. According to respondents, lower new work was a key factor behind the decline as inflows failed to compensate for the completion of projects.

The weakest fall in activity was seen on housing projects, with this sector also the only one monitored to post a slower decline than at the start of the year. Commercial and civil engineering each saw a slightly quicker reduction in activity, with the sharper overall fall for work on civil engineering projects.

While activity is still falling sharply, the pace of reduction in employment in construction slowed during February and was the weakest in 68 months. Panellists in the index that lowered staffing levels mainly linked this to reduced workloads.

Construction firms recorded a sharp and accelerated decline in purchasing activity during February, with the latest fall the fastest since August last year, mainly linked to lower levels of new orders.

Firms are expecting an improvement in the wider economic conditions in the next 12 months with business sentiment strengthening for the fourth successive month.

Read: Building costs up 3 per cent as material and energy prices rise>
More: Planning applications down 17 per cent as construction remains in doldrums>

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