05 January 2005 | Gareth Mytton
The UK construction sector enjoyed the strongest growth in eight months at the end of 2004, according to December'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 - continued its recent rise to reach 57.2, up from 56.7 in November.
Only the civil engineering sector, where companies reported delays in government funding for projects, showed a fall in activity, but activity in the housing and commercial sectors was up, at 56.7 and 62.1 respectively.
Growth in quantities of purchases eased slightly, to 57.4. Supply bottlenecks continued to hamper suppliers' delivery times, but less markedly than in November. Input price inflation was the weakest since April, but at 71.3, the index remained at historically high levels.
Another rise in order books, at 57, led to further increases in employment, as well as usage of subcontractors and their rates.
• Coverage of previous months' UK construction PMI reports is available at http://www.supplymanagement.com/pmi