Construction activity at highest since 2000

Irish construction activity increased at its fastest pace since June 2000 during February, according to the latest Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index.

The Index rose to 68.8 in February from 63.6 the previous month. This was the highest reading in the history of the survey, surpassing a previous peak set in November 2004. Construction activity has now increased on a monthly basis throughout the past two-and-a-half years.

However, Ulster Bank chief economist Simon Barry expressed caution. “Record rates of growth need to be seen in the context of what are still extremely low levels of construction activity. This point was borne out by last week’s national accounts figures which showed that even after three years of recovery at very solid growth rates, construction output is still about 50pc lower than pre-crisis peak levels,” he said.

Separate research from recruiter Hays Ireland showed demand for construction and property jobs rose 46pc in February 2016 compared with the same month last year. Electrical engineers, quantity surveyors, architects and structural engineers, particularly in middle-management roles, are the sector’s most in-demand professionals. Salaries are up significantly year-on-year.

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