Activity in the construction sector rose at its fastest pace in eight months during October, a new index shows.

The latest Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers' Index shows that activity, new orders and employment levels all rose in October and at a faster pace than in previous months.

The index, which is seasonally adjusted and is designed to track changes in total construction activity, rose for the second successive month in October to 62.3, up from 58.7 in September. 

Construction activity has increased each month now continuously since September 2013. 

Ulster Bank noted that for the sixth month in a row, the commercial construction category was the best performer in October as the rate of expansion quickened to a three-month high. 

Activity on housing projects also rose at a sharp and accelerated pace during the month, while civil engineering activity was unchanged, after having risen in September.

Ulster Bank Republic of Ireland chief economist Simon Barry said firms are reporting a strengthening in client demand and a general improvement in economic conditions.

"Solid readings across the headline, new orders and employment indicators highlight that momentum behind the sector’s recovery continues to look strong," the economist said. 

"Indeed, the headline PMI index reading of 62.3 for October marks the second month in a row of construction outperformance relative to both the services and manufacturing equivalents (which stand at 54.6 and 52.1 respectively), with the mainly domestic-facing construction sector less directly exposed to adverse Brexit impacts than more heavily trade-dependent areas of the economy," he added.