Irish construction activity hits 15-month high

Plenty of job opportunities in the industry due to increased workloads...

Irish construction activity rose at a sharp pace in May, according to new figures from Ulster Bank.

Its construction purchasing managers' index rose to 63.6 last month – up sharply from 61.3 in April.

Any rating over 50 indicates expansion in the industry.

It was the biggest leap in activity since February 2016 and marked the 45th consecutive month of expansion.

The new orders index also soared to a 15-month high, indicating activity is only set to increase.

Housing sector activity was up, rising to 69.2 in May compared to 61.9 the month previous.

This was the second-fastest rate of expansion in the housing index in the survey's history, though it was coming from an extremely low base.

Commercial activity hit 65.2, up from 59.6 in April.

Over 25% of managerial respondents confirmed they are hiring additional staff, with a "strongly optimistic" outlook seen overall.

Some 55% predict further rises in activity over the coming year; just 3% are foreseeing a fall.

Indeed, suppliers have been struggling to meet the demand for materials, with delivery times lengthening to their greatest extent in almost four years. 

Simon Barry, Ulster Bank's chief economist for the Republic of Ireland, said:

"Strong market demand for the services of construction firms was very much evident in further substantial increases in new orders.

"In turn, the buoyancy of the activity and new business trends remains a very important driver of job creation and input buying in construction."