Construction activity fell sharply again last month, the latest Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers Index shows.

The Construction PMI - a seasonally adjusted index which tracks changes in total construction activity - was unchanged at 42.6 in November.

Any figure under 50 signals contraction, while a figure over 50 signals growth in a sector.

Ulster Bank said that respondents blamed the latest fall in activity on lower new orders and weak confidence.

The index tracks three areas - housing, commercial and civil engineering - and all three saw weak levels of activity last month.

The sharpest contraction was recorded in civil engineering, which remained the weakest of the three sectors.

Ulster Bank noted that both the housing and commercial activity indices continued to be some way below the expansion threshold of 50.

''Not surprisingly, given the ongoing contraction in activity, the sector remains in job shedding mode, and in fact the pace of contraction in employment levels was at its sharpest since May 2011,'' commented Ulster Bank's economist John Fahey.