Economics: Irish construction PMI falls to 31-month low of 54.5 in October from 56.5 in September

Irish construction activity grew at its slowest level for 31 months in October, with new orders and staff hiring easing.

The latest monthly construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) from Ulster Bank — widely seen as one of the major health barometers for the building industry — showed a reading of 54.5 points for October.

Any reading over the neutral 50 points indicates a sector in growth mode and October ranked as the 50th straight month in which construction activity grew.

However, October’s reading was down from one of 56.5 in September and ranked as the slowest rate of monthly growth since March 2015.

Despite October’s slower growth, construction firms remain upbeat about their prospects. Respondents said they remained confident of output increases over the coming year; largely based on a belief that new order levels will pick up again. But, business sentiment dipped to an eight-month low in October.

Meanwhile, while hiring levels continued to grow, that growth eased for the second consecutive month.

Civil engineering activity continued to underperform last month, registering a fifth consecutive month of decline in activity.

Alan McQuaid (13/11/17)
Economist