Both the housing and commercial categories saw activity return to growth during June, with the rate of expansion sharper in the former. Civil engineering activity decreased, but at a much softer pace that was the weakest since January.

New business continues to fall 

The COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact negatively on new business during June, resulting in a fourth successive monthly decline. That said, the pace of reduction continued to slow sharply from the record posted in April and was the weakest in the current sequence of contraction.

Further reduction in staffing levels

Despite activity returning to growth at the end of the second quarter, firms continued to lower their staffing levels amid relatively low workloads. Employment levels fell sharply, albeit at a reduced rate.

Latest data pointed to a stabilisation of purchasing activity, with input buying unchanged following three consecutive months of decline. The restart of projects reportedly led some firms to expand their input buying.

Efforts to secure items were hampered by ongoing issues in supply chains due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortages of some inputs, reduced capacity at vendors and delays from UK suppliers all contributed to a steep lengthening of delivery times, and one that was unmatched prior to the current crisis.

Input costs rose sharply, with the rate of inflation accelerating from that seen in May. The increase was the second in as many months.

Renewed optimism around the outlook for construction activity was signalled in June, thanks to an expectation that market conditions would return to normal over the coming year. That said, sentiment remained relatively weak amid concerns at some firms regarding the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

Ref: Irish Building Magazine