Construction activity has increased for the second month in a row, according to the Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers' Index.

A seasonally adjusted index designed to track changes in total construction activity, rose to 53.2 in July, up from 51.9 in June.

Readings above 50 signal an increase in activity on the previous month and readings below 50 signal a decrease.

The report shows that housing continues to lead the recovery in construction activity, with a Housing PMI reading of 57.8 in July signalling a very solid increase in residential activity last month.

Commercial activity also remained in expansion mode, but the report states that a Commercial PMI reading of 50.2 is signalling a very modest increase in July.

Commenting on the survey, Simon Barry, Chief Economist Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, said that the pace of expansion picked up last month, as the headline PMI reached an 11-month high of 53.2 in July, up from 51.9 in June.

"Overall, the pick-up in the July PMI is an encouraging sign that the recovery in construction activity regained some further growth momentum early in the second half of the year. And other details within the survey also offered some encouragement," he said.

He added, "A welcome pick-up in New Orders left the July reading back in positive growth territory and at a six-month high of 53.8. The Employment index has also recorded further trend improvement last month, with a reading of 47.5 signalling the slowest contraction in employment since the coronavirus hit the Irish economy."