The recovery in the construction sector is continuing to gain traction, according to the latest Construction Purchasing Managers Index from Ulster Bank.

The PMI, which tracks changes in total construction industry, remained well above the 50 no-change mark in November. It showed a reading of 58.8, down from the reading of 59.4 in October. 

November saw a third month of jobs growth in the sector, while strong growth in activity and new orders was also registered in the month.

Ulster Bank said that business sentiment was at its highest since the survey began in 2000 and reflected the number of new projects underway, the prospect of further new order growth in coming months and a general sense of optimism in the economy.

The index looks at three segments of the construction industry, housing, commercial and civl engineering. Activity in both the housing and commercial sectors rose strongly again in November, with rates of expansion easing only slightly from the previous month.

While, the civil engineering sector continued to see a fall in activity, the pace of reduction remained much slower than earlier in the year.

Ulster Bank's chief economist Simon Barry said that in keeping with the pattern of the last several months, the improvements are being underpinned by recoveries in both the housing and commercial arenas where activity has now increased in each of the past five and four months respectively.

The economist said that near-term prospects for the sector appear favourable, judging by a further acceleration in the rate of growth of new business.  

"Of course activity levels in construction remain extremely low following the 2007-13 crash.  So, to reiterate a point we have made previously, the recent improvements in construction activity and confidence - as welcome as they are - need to be seen in the context of the huge declines of recent years," Mr Barry added.