RTTNews - Ireland's Ulster Bank Purchasing Managers' Index or PMI for the construction sector increased to a seasonally adjusted 37.9 in July from 36.3 in June, a report by the Ulster Bank said on Monday. This was the slowest contraction in the sector since November 2007.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector, while a reading below 50 signals a contraction.

The decline in construction sector was mainly due to wider recession in the country, the report said. The new business decreased sharply in July, while employment continued to drop since May 2007.

The sharpest contraction hit in the residential category, while the reduction in activity on civil engineering projects slowed in July. But the, commercial activity continued to decelerate in July. This was the highest contraction since April 2008.

For the second straight month, expectations regarding future activity were broadly neutral.

Simon Barry, Senior Economist at Ulster Bank said, Nonetheless, a decline in the employment index this month acts as a reminder that conditions in the sector, especially housing, remain very challenging at present.

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