04 February 2005 | Kate Williamson
The UK construction sector showed a further rise in overall industry activity in January, according to the latest purchasing managers' index (PMI) report.
The total industry PMI - a composite indicator of sector conditions, in which 50 indicates no change on the previous month - stood at 55.5, down from 57.2 in December.
Commercial builders recorded the strongest growth, at 59.5. But it fell from 62.1 in December to indicate the slowest expansion for three months.
In contrast, civil engineering activity fell for the second consecutive month, standing at 47.4, compared with 49.7 in December.
Although the rise in orders, at 55.6, was the weakest in more than two years, it drove a rise in purchasing activity that put pressure on suppliers and resulted in longer lead times. Items in short supply included insulation materials, polythene and steel.
Employment remained robust at 55.3, but subcontractor usage fell for the first time in 26 months, from 50.9 in December to 49.4. The quality of work undertaken by subcontractors had also declined slightly.
Coverage of previous months' services, manufacturing and construction PMI reports is available at http://www.supplymanagement.com/pmi
More information on the UK and euro-zone PMIs is available at www.ntc-research.com
The full text of the ISM reports on the US manufacturing economy for December and previous months is available at http://www.ism.ws/ISMReport/index.cfm