Growth in the Irish construction sector was recorded for June, with rises in activity, new orders and employment.

This was the latest report from the Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which also claimed that confidence towards continued expansion over the coming year was at a near-record high.

The Ulster Bank Construction PMI – a seasonally adjusted index designed to track changes in total construction activity – rose to 59.7 in June from May’s six-month low of 55.9.

This signalled a sharp monthly increase in construction activity, and extended the current period of growth to 34 months.

Simon Barry, chief economist for Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, said, “Growth in Irish construction activity accelerated markedly in June, according to the latest results of the Ulster Bank Construction PMI survey.

“The rate of overall expansion picked up to a three-month high last month, as the headline index rose to 59.7 from 55.9 in May, leaving it significantly above the 50 no-change benchmark.”

He added that the improvement was broadly based, highlighted by faster growth rates across the three main sub-sectors, with the sharpest increase recorded in commercial activity, just ahead of housing.

He said that firms also reported further robust increases in new business, with June marking three full years of rising new orders.

He added, “The June Construction PMI survey was conducted over the second half of the month, with the majority of responses returned prior to the UK referendum result.

“Thus, while some respondents knew the outcome of the referendum when responding to the June survey, it is too soon to judge the extent of any Brexit-related impact on confidence and activity in the construction sector.

“In fact, the June results show that Irish construction firms are strongly optimistic about the prospects for future growth over the coming year.

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