04 June 2007 | Paul Snell
Growth in the construction sector maintained its strength despite slowing last month, according to the latest CIPS/NTC Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI).
The PMI for May, where a figure above 50 represents growth, recorded a reading of 58, lower than the previous month's 59.8.
The report said expansion in the sector could be attributed to strong new orders and successful planning applications. Activity in all three building sectors - housing, commercial and civil engineering - increased in May, although at a slower rate than the previous month.
Input prices reached a nine-month high of 70.2, with buyers blaming the increased cost of timber, steel and other raw materials. There was also a continued deterioration in supplier performance, with delivery times recording 38.7, their lowest level in 35 months.
But the slowdown in growth meant optimism for the future fell, from 76.3 in April to 71.8 in May.
* Further coverage of PMI reports is available at http://www.supplymanagement.com/pmi