The level of activity in the Irish construction sector rose again in May, with firms continuing to catch up from the weather disruption in March.

The latest Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers' index, which is designed to track changes in total construction activity, rose to 61.8 in May from 60.7 in April.

Ulster Bank noted that the rate of growth quickened for the second month in a row and was the fastest for a year. 

Activity in the construction sector - which includes housing, commercial and civil engineering - has now risen in each of the past 57 months.

The index also revealed that new business and input buying increased at faster rates during the month, while job creation remained strong. 

However, construction activity in civil engineering - which consists mainly of State-funded projects such as roads, schools and other infrastructure - fell slightly in May.

"The latest results of the Ulster Bank Construction PMI survey show that Irish construction firms experienced strong, and faster, rates of expansion in May.  The headline PMI picked up for the second month in a row, with a highly elevated reading of 61.8 marking a year-high," Simon Barry, chief economist at Ulster Bank, said. 

"Commercial construction recorded another acceleration in activity which took the Commercial PMI to its highest level in nearly two years, in the process leaving commercial as the strongest performing activity category last month", Mr Barry said. 

"There was also a sharp rise in residential activity which took the Housing PMI to its highest level in a year.  The results for Civil Engineering were not as favourable, with activity here registering a decline in May, ending a five-month run of expansion," he added.