The downturn in the Irish construction sector showed signs of deepening in June as both activity and new business decreased at faster rates. In response to lower workloads, firms cut their purchasing activity and employment further. There was some respite for firms on the cost front as the rate of input price inflation slowed markedly and was only slight. The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) — a seasonally adjusted index designed to track changes in total construction activity – – fell to 42.5 in June, from 46.3 in the previous month to signal the sharpest reduction in activity since September 2011. According to respondents, falling activity largely reflected weak demand.
Commenting on the survey, John Fahey, economist, Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, said: “The June reading of the Ulster Bank Construction PMI shows that the construction sector continues to experience contraction in activity levels. The latest survey results represent an acceleration in the pace of contraction, with the total activity index falling to 42.5 in June, the fastest pace of decline since September of last year. From a sectoral perspective, the weakness was broad-based, with all three of the principal sub-sectors registering further contraction in activity levels.