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Construction slump goes on

ACTIVITY in the construction sector dropped at the sharpest rate for 16 months in September.

The figures reveal that the industry is a long way from recovery as there are more falls in new business orders, employment levels and business confidence. The latest monthly Ulster Bank Purchasing Managers' Index found that housing and civil engineering activity both fell in September compared with the previous month.

The pace of decrease reached its sharpest since January 2010.

There was a minimal slowdown in the monthly fall in new business orders, the research has also shown. "A key ongoing headwind for the sector is the dearth of new business opportunities," said Simon Barry, chief economist at Ulster Bank.