Construction activity down again
A further decline in activity was recorded in construction in September as the amount of new business fell.
Reducing workloads also led to cuts in employment and purchasing activity, according to the Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers' Index.
The rate of cost inflation quickened as higher oil and fuel costs produced rising prices. Those surveyed linked the latest fall in activity to lower levels of new orders amid weakened confidence.
Simon Barry, chief economist for the Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, said: "The survey results for September show that while the pace of contraction eased very slightly last month, the sector continues to exhibit widespread weakness."
He added: "The rate of contraction did ease a touch in the housing and commercial arenas, but there was a pronounced weakening in civil engineering where activity is now falling at its sharpest pace since the end of 2010."
The expert said in contrast to the persistent declines in construction, last week's manufacturing and services studies recorded expanding activity levels, highlighting the ongoing divergence in trends between many areas of domestic demand which continue to struggle and the internationally-traded sectors of the economy that are managing to hold up relatively well.
"There appears to be little reason to expect this pattern to change much in the near term, with the latest PMIs showing incoming new business levels on the rise in manufacturing and services but still on the slide in construction," he added.