03 January 2008 | Paul Snell
Activity in the construction sector in December grew at a faster rate than the previous month.
According to the latest CIPS/NTC Purchasing Managers' Index for construction, where a figure above 50 represents growth, activity in the sector registered 56. This is an increase on 54.3 registered in November.
Strong activity in both the commercial and civil engineering sectors drove the growth. Commercial activity recorded 57.3 last month, compared to 54 in the previous month, and civil engineering reached 59.5 compared with 55.9 in November.
But activity in the housing sector fell for the first time in 16 months. It registered 46.5 in December, below the no change mark of 50.
New orders and employment also experienced growth at the end of 2007. Good market conditions saw new orders reach 58.8. Staff levels also increased, recording 56.8, in order to meet the higher workloads.
Input prices reached a four-month high registering 69.2, up from 67.8 in November. Higher prices, coupled with material shortages, were behind the increase.
* Further coverage of PMI reports is available at http://www.supplymanagement.com