Construction growth speeds up for the third month running

Employment in the sector has now risen in 44 successive months...

Construction activity is continuing to increase according to the latest Ulster Bank Index.

The financial institution says April was the busiest month since October 2016. It's the third month in which the pace of expansion has sped up - output, new orders and employment all grew at faster rates during the month.

It rose from 60.8 to 61.3 between March and April - any figure above 50 indicates growth.

Commenting on the survey, Simon Barry, Chief Economist Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, said:

"The positive messages from the headline index were reinforced by a further strong increase in new business, with the New Orders index also rising to its highest level since October. Strong demand for the services of construction firms was also very much evident in further substantial increases in employment and input buying last month."

"The April results also included evidence of broad-based expansion in the sector as all three subsectors posted increases in activity. Civil Engineering saw a welcome return to growth last month, interrupting a five-month sequence of declines in activity. Commercial activity also expanded at a very rapid rate, albeit that the pace of growth slightly eased in April."

Employment in the sector has now risen in 44 successive months. The rate of job creation picked up during the month, as "both current workloads and future activity requirements encouraged firms to take on extra staff."