New figures show that activity in the construction sector fell for the second month in a row last month, with Brexit worries adding to the negative effects of the pandemic.
The Ulster Bank Construction PMI rose to 47 in September from 44 in August, but any figure below 50 means that activity fell.
“While some firms reported increases in activity, orders and hiring in September, the overall results pointed to a second consecutive month of contraction across the three main sub-sectors,” said Ulster Bank’s chief economist Simon Barry.
The economist added that there was a “notable deterioration” in the sentiment part of the survey.
Supply chains disrupted
For the first time since May, more firms expected activity in the year ahead to fall than rise, with some firms reporting Brexit as a renewed cause for concern.
Disruption to supply chains was also evident in the latest results, according to Mr Barry. “Respondents experienced longer delivery lead times amid some reports of stock shortages at suppliers and difficulties in sourcing items,” he said.
This contributed to an acceleration in cost inflation, which rose to its highest level since April 2019.
The survey indicated a relative stabilisation in commercial activity, where the figure of 49.2 indicated only a marginal drop in activity.
The housing part of the index fell from 44.7 to 44,1, however, while civil engineering stood at 44.2.