Friday, June 15, 2012

15/6/2012: Irish Construction PMIs - no sign of that MNCs jobs creation, again

What is going on in Irish construction sector, folks? The latest statements from the Irish development authorities and the Government and its 'experts' would make you believe that MNCs are killing each other trying to rush into building new space to house those thousands of workers that are allegedly being hired by them. Of course, we know the latter is balderdash (see here) when it comes to date through 2011, but can it be true for trends since 2011? After all, the Government aims to create tens of thousands new jobs in 2012 in the MNCs-sectors.

Ok, here are two posts on latest construction sector activity. First one on Construction Sector PMIs (courtesy of the Ulster Bank) and the second one on CSO data.

Take a look at the latest (May 2012) Construction Sector PMIs:

Suppose there was a rush in activity in MNCs-sectors. That would translate in some uptick in construction activity in Commercial sector. Right? In May 2012 Commercial sector Construction PMI stood at 46.8, which is (1) signal of rather significant rate of contraction m/m, (2) marks the lowest reading in the sub-index since November 2011, and (3) is worse than shallower rate of contraction signaled by 48.4 reading in April.

In fact, May 2012 reading is below 3mo and 6mo MA readings. So the rate of decline has accelerated in May compared to 3mo average and 6 mo average.

As dodgy as the activity is across all Construction-related sub-categories, it is the Commercial sub-sector activity that is signaling worsening of the already poor trend.

So, where are those thousands of new jobs going to be housed? Per Ulster Bank (emphasis mine): "Those panellists that recorded a decline in overall construction activity during the month mainly linked this to falling new business. New orders at Irish constructors decreased for the fifth successive month. Where firms were able to secure new business, they reported that this was often dependent on prices being reduced."

Now, you might say that there can be 'expectations' of future activity that are not fully reflected in the above figures. Yep. "Irish construction firms remained optimistic that activity will be higher in 12 months’ time than current levels, with sentiment improving from that registered in April. That said, positive expectations largely reflected the fact that a rise in activity is likely given the low levels currently being recorded." So, yes, firms are still giddy (they've been 'optimistic' now for many months, in fact over a year), but they are not giddy about hordes of new orders arriving. Instead they are optimistic about the prospect of continued attrition wiping out more of their competitors or that they might pick some jobs as the derelict unfinished sites start crumbling down in earnest. Nice one.

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