NEW DATA FROM Ulster Bank has shown signs of growth in the construction industry.
The statistics, taken from the Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), show a second quarterly increase this year.
According to the Index, which is designed to track construction activity broadly, there was a rise from 52.9 in March to 57.2 in April.
This most recent rise means that there has been an increase in the sector for 20 consecutive months.
Boosts across the sector
Speaking about the survey, Simon Barry, chief economist for the Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, said, “encouragingly, the improvement reported by survey respondents last month was broadly-based. That is, the pace of activity growth accelerated across each of the three major sub-sectors.”
Particular improvement was reported in the Commercial and Housing arenas where growth picked up rapidly, while Civil Engineering returned to slight expansion following two months in a row of contraction.
The increases in the sector also brought good news for the Irish jobs sector.
The most recent index figures showed April to have had the biggest boost in staff number across the industry since January.
Developments in the industry have brought good news for subcontractors, although bad news for people looking to hire them.
Increased demand has brought a jump in prices being charged, despite what Ulster Bank is calling “a further modest deterioration in the quality of their work”.
Difficulty north of the border
While things are getting moving construction-wise south of the border, economically things are looking less cheerful in Northern Ireland.
Ulster Bank’s PMI results have also shown that there has been a modest deterioration in business conditions across the region.
Output and new orders for firms were seen to have fallen during the month of March, although staffing continued to increase.