'It's good news as we enter the holiday period'
THE latest purchase managers' index from Ulster Bank was hailed as good news for the Northern Ireland economy after it enjoyed a bumper month for construction and manufacturing.
Bryan Gray, chief executive of Manufacturing NI, said that the rest of 2013 is looking promising, while John Armstrong from the Construction Employers Federation also welcomed the figures.
Mr Armstrong said that the survey supports analysis that the construction industry in Northern Ireland may have reached a turning point.
"Following a marked deceleration in the pace of decline in construction output last year, there has been a tentative wave of positivity in the industry in the first half of 2013," he said.
"Our State of Trade survey for the first quarter of 2013 shows that 34% of companies are now working at full or almost full capacity and 26% expect their workload to increase over the next 12 months.
"This is the most positive feedback from members in four or five years."
He added: "For the wider economy a full-blown recovery in the construction sector can not come soon enough."
Mr Gray said: "These latest figures will make for a brighter summer for manufacturers, providing encouraging news as we enter the holiday period."
"Taken together with the overall growth in UK manufacturing, new jobs in the US economy and recent movements in the exchange rate which will help exports, we hope that the second half of 2013 will see the much needed recovery in our economy."
June saw some major announcements in construction and manufacturing. A £30m funding partnership between Clanmil housing group and a loan firm will help build 300 new homes across Northern Ireland, securing almost 300 on-site jobs and others in the supply chain.
And it was announced that the Republic's bad bank Nama is to provide £15m in lending to complete the Lanyon Plaza and The Soloist office buildings in Belfast – both developed by William Ewart properties.
In manufacturing, Randox Laboratories in Crumlin announced it is to supply lab equipment to the Saudi Ministry of Health in a £6m, five-year deal.
And Dunmurry company Brookvent recently won a contract in Shanghai to design, manufacture and supply window vents to a new high-rise apartment block.