Construction firms take on more staff as downturn slows

Construction companies registered strong employment growth during February even as the sector continued to contract, albeit at a slower rate, according to a report by BNP Paribas Real Estate Ireland.

The construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) report showed the sector enjoyed a broad stabilisation in activity levels and fresh growth in new orders. Firms registered the first uptick in input buying since May last year.

There was some less positive news on the pricing front, however, as input costs and subcontractor rates increased at faster paces than in January.

Overall, the construction sector PMI came in at 49.8 in the month, just below the 50 mark that separates growth and contraction. The figure was up from 47.7 in January, but the reading was indicative of a fifth successive reduction in total activity.