The Republic of Ireland's construction activity expanded at the fastest pace in six months in December, data from IHS Markit showed today.
Housing was the strongest performing sector, and commercial activity and demand for civil engineering services also increased during the month.
The December data produced for Ulster Bank by IHS Markit, revealed positive news in the form of faster rises in output and new orders at the end of 2017.
This resulted in a build-up of backlogs of work and stronger job creation
Aecom Ireland said workers from overseas and returning emigrants would be crucial to future employment growth in construction, as recruitment becomes “a challenge”.
Despite easing from November, the latest figures show that the rates of both input cost and output price inflation remained elevated last month.
Respondents reported higher prices for materials such as insulation and steel, as well as fuel, insurance and staff.
Total construction activity rose to 58 in December from 56.7 in November. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.
Simon Barry, Chief Economist for the Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, said that construction firms experienced "strong, and faster rates of expansion in December.
"Housing was again the strongest-performing sector in an encouraging sign that residential activity continues to increase at a substantial and accelerated pace," he said.
"But the improvement was broadly based, with commercial activity also rising at a rapid rate, while there was a welcome return to growth for civil engineering after six months of declining activity."
Top Construction News Stories so far in 2018 ... https://t.co/m0mNuebHVn— Construction Jobs (@Construct_job) January 11, 2018
Barry added the latest survey shows that employment growth remains "solid" in the construction sector, but that the pace of hiring eased to its slowest pace since March 2015.
"A robust and strengthening pattern of new orders should underpin further gains in both staffing levels and wider activity in the months ahead," he added.
Northern Ireland also looked positive with its highest reading of the year, posting 56.9 in December from 54.3 in November.
Output, orders and job creation in Northern Ireland grew at their fastest rates in three years during 2017.