03 August 2005 | Rebecca Ellinor
Activity in the UK building industry rose for the 44th consecutive month in July, according to latest purchasing managers' index (PMI) report.
The overall PMI - a composite indicator of overall sector conditions, in which 50 indicates no change on the previous month - was 54.7, down from June's six month high of 55.8 but still indicative of solid growth, the report said.
And all three main construction sectors - commercial, civil engineering and housing - posted higher levels of activity, with the commercial sector continuing to be the strongest performer.
Roy Ayliffe, director of professional practice at CIPS, said: "Of particular note was housing, which built on last month's recovery to post its best performance in six months."
He said new business continued its growth trend, which has been rising now for almost seven years. The report added that while there was a further gain in new business the pace of the order book eased from June's peak.
Employment signalled only modest growth, but continued to rise as firms took on extra staff to cope with rising workloads.
Expectations for future business are high with six out of 10 purchasing managers anticipating a rise in activity in the next 12 months.
"Optimism in the industry rose to the highest in five months, as panellists were encouraged by robust demand and expansions in capacity," said Ayliffe.
• Coverage of previous months' UK construction PMI reports is available at http://www.supplymanagement.com/pmi.