The Irish construction sector continued its
recent run of strong expansion in April as growth of activity and new business
both reached multi-year highs. Firms responded to increased workloads by raising
their staffing levels at one of the fastest rates in the series history.
Meanwhile, business confidence improved
to the strongest since the survey began in June 2000. No data on the number of
firms polled for the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) survey was released, which
suggests that it's too small to reveal.
The Ulster Bank Construction PMI - - a seasonally
adjusted index designed to track changes in total construction activity – rose
to 63.5 in April from 60.2 in the previous month. Activity has now increased in
each of the past eight months, with the latest expansion the sharpest since
Simon Barry, chief
economist Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank,
said: “The results of the April survey of the Ulster Bank Construction PMI point
to a further strengthening of the recovery in Irish construction last month.
There was a marked acceleration in overall activity in April as the headline PMI
reached its highest level since the end of 2004. The strengthening was
particularly evident in Housing and Commercial activity where the pace of growth
also quickened to multi-year highs. Offering further encouragement was a further
substantial increase in New Orders which rose for the 10th consecutive month in
April, and at the fastest pace since February 2006."
Residential and commercial activity both rise at
faster rates: The improvement in overall construction activity reflected
substantial rises in work on both residential and commercial projects, with
rates of growth quickening in each case. On the other hand, civil engineering
activity continued to fall, and the rate of
decline was sharper than that seen in the previous month.