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?Irish construction achieves full year of continuous growth

?The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) has revealed the country's construction sector marked another sharp expansion in August. This means that construction firms in Ireland have now enjoyed a full year of continuous growth, according to the seasonally adjusted index, which is designed to track changes in total construction activity.A scale of 61.4 was registered in August, which is slightly lower than the equivalent figure of 62.6 that was recorded in July, but remains strong enough to to signal a significant increase in activity throughout the sector. Steep rises in new orders and strong optimism from firms that their activity will continue to rise for the next year were cited as two of the major factors driving this growth. In addition to this sharp expansion, the rate of input cost inflation quickened at its highest rate since March 2012. Chief economist for the Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank Simon Barry singled out the strength of the housing and commercial sectors for praise. He explained that this largely drove the wider improvements and is also the areas where the most substantial increases in new order are being made. It was noted that these positive trends are contributing to higher levels of recruitment activity, with the employment index for the industry also reaching its 12th consecutive month of strong growth. Mr Barry welcomed this substantial move away from a "deep trough" that the sector had been locked in for a long time throughout the 2007-2013 downturn. "Moreover, construction firms are confident that the sector's recovery will remain on track in the coming year," he commented, adding: "Sentiment rose for the third month in a row in August, taking it to a near-record high, as respondents anticipate that further improvements in both the construction sector itself and the broader economy will result in further activity gains in the coming twelve months." 

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