Big freeze work boosts builders
REPAIR work to households after the big freeze halted the decline in the construction sector last month.
The latest Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) outlined that activity, new orders and employment all continued to decrease during the month.
Ulster Bank chief economist Simon Barry said the headline activity index rose by almost five points last month to leave it at its highest level since August of last year.
"This was a pattern linked to an unwind of the negative impact on activity from the extreme weather in December as some respondents reported an increase in repair work while fewer firms experienced weather-related declines," he said.
But despite the rise in the index, the PMI is still below the break-even level of 50 and is thus continuing to point to a sector that is mired in recession. Employment levels at Irish construction firms fell for the 45th successive month in January as falling new orders continued to hit companies.