Construction industry continues to expand
August 14, 2006 09:27
The Irish construction industry continued to expand strongly in July, with the latest Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers index recording a figure of 57.7. This was down from June’s figure of 58.5, but the index has remained about the no-change mark in each month since September 2003.
Construction firms linked the latest rise in July to higher new order volumes and efforts to meet deadlines for existing contracts.
In each month of the past year, all three monitored construction areas have registered activity growth. Civil engineering was the best performing for the second month in a row in July and the rate of expansion in this sector was the sharpest since November 2004. Housing activity saw another marked increase, while commercial activity also rose at a robust pace.
The index also revealed that the rate of job creation in the Irish construction sector remained robust in July. 26% of firms indicated that extra staff had been hired since June. Employment has now risen in each month since September 2003.
Confidence at firms involved in the building industry remained high in July with around 42% of firms anticipating higher activity levels in a year’s time. This was despite a marked increase in the input prices. Input price inflation rose by its highest level in ten months as firms reported higher prices for fuel and metals.
‘Confidence remains high with little sign of any slowdown in housing activity,’ commented Pat McArdle, Chief Economist at Ulster Bank. ‘It looks like the industry is on target to deliver another record level of house completions this year,’ he added.