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Sharpest increase in new business in Ireland for seven months

Staff writer |
Growth in the Irish construction sector strengthened at the start of 2016, with activity rising at the fastest pace in seven months on the back of an accelerated expansion in new business.

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This encouraged firms to take on extra staff and increase their purchasing activity, while business sentiment remained strongly positive.

The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) – a seasonally adjusted index designed to track changes in total construction activity – rose sharply to 63.6 in January from 58.6 in December.

This signalled a second successive acceleration in the rate of growth of construction activity, with the latest expansion the fastest since June last year. Total activity in the sector has now increased in each of the past 29 months.

Each of the three monitored areas of the construction sector matched the total picture by recording faster rises in activity during January. The steepest increase in activity was on housing projects, where the rate of growth was the sharpest since October 2014.

Meanwhile, rates of expansion in the commercial and civil engineering categories were the fastest in seven and 13 months respectively.

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