Construction firms hiring amid growth

Ireland's construction firms have continued hiring amid a strong pace of growth in the sector.

The latest Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers' Index stood at 58.4 in June. While that compared to a stronger 61.8 reading in May, any figure over 50 represents expansion - any reading below that indicates contraction.

Simon Barry, chief economist for the Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, said the May figure was "extremely elevated".

He said that the reading for June "is still very much a level which signals ongoing rapid gains in activity".

"The latest results, as well as anecdotes from survey respondents, continue to highlight that housing and commercial remain areas of particular strength within the sector, albeit that there was some cooling of growth momentum in June from the exceptionally rapid rates recorded in May," said Mr Barry.

More than half of the survey's respondents (56pc) expect the pace of construction activity to rise. Respondents also reported that new business rose at a "substantial pace" in June, and only at a very slightly slower pace than in May, which was a one-year high.

The CSO said last month the volume of output in the building and construction sector rose 7.4pc in the first quarter of 2018.