02 May 2008 | Jake Kanter
Activity in the construction sector continued to decline last month at a faster rate than in March.
According to the latest CIPS/NTC Purchasing Managers' Index for construction, where a figure above 50 represents growth, activity in the sector registered 46.1 in April. It was the sharpest fall in activity in the sector for nine years. The index recorded 47.2 in March. Weak economic conditions were blamed for the downturn.
Housing and commercial activity also continued to decline registering 40.3 and 44.4 respectively, compared with 41.1 and 45.4 in the previous month. Activity in civil engineering also contracted for the first time in nineteen months registering 48.2.
New orders continued to fall in April but at a slower rate than the month before, recording 49.1. Economic uncertainty led to fewer tendering opportunities and weaker demand.
Despite the dip in new orders, staff levels continued to increase, recording 50.1. The increase was slightly slower than in March, when it registered 52.4.
Input prices fell below March's 40-month high of 74.4, but still rose to 74.3. Buyers cited high prices of raw materials such as steel, oil and fuel as reason for the strong input levels.
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