The construction sector experienced renewed weakness in September according to a new index by Ulster Bank.
Unlike previous months, the rate of contraction accelerated due to a drop in new business and new orders, according to the Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). Civil Engineering was also a particularly weak area.
The index fell to 44.5 in September, from 48.4. The decline in activity signalled by the latest figure was the fortieth in as many months, and was steeper than the long-run series average.
Sentiment across the sector dipped sharply and job losses intensified as a result.
But overall, the sector remains confident of a upsurge in a year's time.
Ulster Bank Chief Economist Simon Barry said however the index is still disappointing.
“The sector has been in contraction mode for forty months now, but the latest reading showed an acceleration in the rate of contraction as the index fell to its lowest level since May," Mr Barry said.
"The index remains well off its record lows seen in early 2009 which is an indication that the sector is not contracting as severely as at the extreme point of the cycle.
"However, the September reading is nevertheless disappointing as it represents a reversal of the gains of the previous three months."