August saw strong growth in the Irish construction sector, according to the Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers' Index released today.
The seasonally-adjusted index for August registered 57.8, above the 50.0 mark separating expansion from contraction. This has been the case every month for the past three years.
“Confidence in the industry remains high, albeit at the least marked level for nearly a year,” said Pat McArdle, chief economist at Ulster Bank.
“At the same time, activity, new orders and employment all continue to expand quite strongly. The rate of increase in housing output was broadly unchanged in August as was that of the industry as a whole given that shifts in civil, down a bit, cancelled out commercial, which was up a bit.”
Increased workloads contributed to a robust rise in employment in the Irish construction economy in August. In line with new orders, staffing levels have increased in each month since September 2003.
The volume of new orders received by Irish construction firms rose strongly in August, with more than 36% of firms indicating that new work had increased since the previous month.
New business has now expanded in each month since September 2003, and the rate of new work growth in August broadly in line with the average for the current expansionary period.
For the third month in a row, civil engineering activity rose at the sharpest pace of the three monitored construction areas, albeit below July's 20-month high.
The rates of expansion of both commercial and housing activity were also robust in August.
August data signalled a substantial increase in Irish constructors' input prices, however. Many firms mentioned that prices of metals and fuel had increased.
Around 40% of firms reported that input prices had risen since July.