02 June 2005 | Gareth Mytton
Falling activity in the housing and civil engineering sectors led to the slowest growth in construction this year, according to May'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 - was 52.6, a fall of 2.2 on April.
The housing activity index rose to 49.9, with 72.4 per cent of housebuilders reporting no change in business on April. But in civil engineering, more than a quarter - 26.7 per cent - of companies said activity had fallen, pulling the index below 50 to 47.9.
Commercial building was the only sector to record growth.
New orders were up for the seventy-ninth consecutive month, so companies took on more staff and used subcontractors more. They also stepped up purchasing activity.
Input price inflation rebounded to 58.7, after falling to 54.5 in April.
• Coverage of previous months' UK construction PMI reports is available at http://www.supplymanagement.com/pmi