03 December 2004 | Gareth Mytton
The commercial building sector saw the fastest growth in eight months, according to November's purchasing managers' index (PMI) report.
The total industry PMI - a composite indicator of overall sector conditions, in which 50 indicates no change on the previous month - rose to 56.7, up from 55 in October.
Commercial builders were the busiest for the fourth consecutive month, followed by housing. The civil engineering sector, at 51.1, maintained its recent marginal growth after a three-month fall in the summer.
The new orders index stood at 60.4, so builders took on more staff (57) and made greater use of subcontractors.
The quantity of purchases index rose to 57.8, with almost twice as many companies reporting higher purchasing activity as said it was down. Rising energy costs and steel prices pushed the input price index to 77.4, the second highest in the survey's history.
• Coverage of previous months' UK construction PMI reports is available at http://www.supplymanagement.com/pmi