The Irish construction economy again recorded a strong rate of activity growth in January, according to the Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers' Index.
The seasonally-adjusted index designed to measure the overall performance of the construction economy registered a five-month high of 60.2, from December's 59.1.
Chief economist at Ulster Bank Pat McArdle said: "Strong growth in new orders, employment and costs were the hallmarks of the first month of 2006. The latter is surprising as it was attributed to energy costs which in general have eased back somewhat in recent months while the latest spike in oil prices has yet to feed through to petrol pump prices.
"Indeed, fuel costs were one of only two items reported to have fallen in price.
"Housing pulled back a bit from the extraordinary level reached in December but still painted a stronger picture than the housing starts data which indicate that completions will be little changed from their 2005 level of 81,000."