04 February 2008 | Jake Kanter
Activity in the construction sector continued to increase last month but at a slower rate than in December.
According to the latest CIPS/NTC Purchasing Managers' Index for construction, where a figure above 50 represents growth, January's activity in the sector registered 53.9. The figure for December was 56.0.
There was a slowdown in both commercial and civil engineering activity. Commercial activity recorded 54.9 last month, compared with 57.3 in December, and civil engineering reached 52.9 compared with 59.5 the month before.
Activity in the housing sector continued to contract, recording a figure of 48 compared with 46.5 in December.
Optimism for the future reached a nine-year low, recording 64.6 last month. A slowdown in the housing market and weak economic conditions in the new year were blamed for the slump.
New orders and employment also experienced a slowdown in growth in January. New orders fell to 56.2, while employment hit 53.4.
Input prices continued to increase, but at a slower rate than in December. The increase is thought to be connected to rising oil and fuel costs.
* Further coverage of PMI reports is available at http://www.supplymanagement.com/pmi