The recovery in the construction industry continued in October, with near record rises in activity, new orders and employment all seen last month.

The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers index - which tracks changes in total construction activity - rose to 64.9 in October from 61.5 in September. 

Ulster Bank noted that the reading was the second highest since the survey began in June 2000, with November 2004 the only month to have seen faster expansion. 

The index examines three areas of construction - civil engineering, housing and commercial and for the first time since October 2006, each of the three sectors posted rises in construction activity.

Both housing and commercial activity registered another month of very rapid rises, with commercial posting its strongest gain in over nine years. 

Civil engineering saw a return to marginally positive growth, which means that companies involved in the sector are reporting a broadening, as well as a strengthening, of the sector's recovery dynamic.