Figures in the latest Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) suggest that several firms (27%) had reported workforce developments in the last month. This was notably the second highest statistic recorded since the monthly survey was introduced 16 years earlier.
The PMI indicated that the sharp rise was driven by new orders and the rate of input cost inflation accelerated to its quickest level in almost 10 years.
“Respondents continue to judge the Irish construction outlook to be very favourable,”
“Confidence about future activity prospects remained strongly positive in January amid further solid gains in new orders, despite some easing in the rate of increase”.
The PMI also expressed that both the housing and commercial construction categories continued to see sharp rises in activity. However, civil engineering activity had declined, extending the existing sequence of weakening decline to three months.
“Very encouragingly, residential activity remains a particular bright spot with housing activity continuing to rise at a rapid pace, while commercial activity also very much remains in expansion mode, though the pace of growth has eased in recent months.
“Civil engineering continues to lag behind the other sectors, with respondents reporting a third consecutive monthly decline in activity.
“One note of caution stems from further evidence of building cost pressures with the rate of input cost inflation picking up to its quickest in almost 10 years.
“Respondents reported higher prices for oil-related products and for items sourced from UK suppliers, the latter effect consistent with growing signs of Brexit-related price and costs increases in the UK economy.”