The most recent Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) indicates that construction activity in Ireland was at its fastest rate in March in a five-month period, while civil engineering has remained weak.
Specifically, the PMI showed that activity has increased 60.8 in March from 57.9 in February, and any reading that is over 50 indicates growth. It points to a sharp monthly increase in total construction activity, which is considered as the “most marked” since October last year. According to the participants of the survey, strong demand and growth in new orders were the main factor of the uptrend.
Despite the easing expansion rate in February, housing activity has continued to rise sharply, while civil engineering projects have continued to fall modestly.
Chief economist at Ulster Bank, Simon Barry, said:
“There was a very sharp acceleration in commercial activity which took the Commercial PMI to its highest level since last October, in the process leaving commercial as the strongest performing activity category last month. Housing activity continues to expand at a very rapid rate, albeit that the pace of growth in residential activity eased modestly in March. Civil engineering remained an area of weakness, however, with respondents reporting a fifth consecutive decline in activity.”
According to the bank, new projects are getting under way. Consequently, construction firms are also employing more people at a substantial rate.
All in all, companies are optimistic about the future of construction in the country with stronger demand, improving economic conditions, and increasing number of business expansion plans.