04 November 2008 | Jake Kanter
Activity in the construction sector plummeted last month, falling to a new survey low.
According to the CIPS/Markit Purchasing Managers' Index for construction, where a figure below 50 represents contraction, activity in the sector recorded 35.1 in October. Activity the month before registered 38.8.
Weak economic conditions affected the industry's three major sub-sectors. Commercial activity fell to a new record low of 33.3 in October, down from 36.4 the month before. Housing activity also continued to show severe contraction dropping to 25.2, compared to 26.1 in September. Civil engineering also suffered a significant drop falling to 43.7 last month from its index of 49 the previous month.
The level of new orders fell substantially, recording another survey low of 36.8, compared with 41.2 the month before. Fewer business opportunities and more unsuccessful bids for work were to blame for the drop.
This was matched by a record dip in staff levels, which fell from 42.3 in September to reach 40.9 in October. More redundancies were incurred and leavers were not replaced.
Alongside the downturn in activity, input prices increased at their slowest rate since August 2005. They reached 57.8 in October, compared with 68 the month before.Further coverage of PMI reports is available at www.supplymanagement.com/pmi