Belfast Telegraph

Construction sector exits recession

The Northern Ireland construction market has exited recession for the first time in five-and-a-half years, according to surveyors.

The housing experts reported a rise in workloads for the first time since early 2008.

Despite the improvement Northern Ireland continues to lag behind the rest of the UK, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said.

Spokesman Jim Sammon added: "It is encouraging to see the workload balance turn positive following a long period in which the construction market in Northern Ireland has experienced a very significant downturn. The survey chimes with anecdotal evidence of more positivity in the sector."

Private industry was the only sub-sector of the Northern Ireland construction market to record a fall in workloads in the third quarter of this year.

Mr Sammon added: "W e are talking about small improvements from a low base and the key challenges for the sector locally remain.

"Finance is tight, private sector activity remains scarce, and public sector demand remains constrained.

"We would urge the NI Executive to encourage and nurture a recovery by increasing infrastructure spending through moving more money from current to capital spending.

"Infrastructure is a driver of growth and competitiveness. Its upkeep, development and maintenance is also essential to a well-functioning society."

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