5 January 2010 | Jake Kanter
Activity in the UK building industry continued to slide last month, marking nearly two years of reduction.
According to the latest CIPS/Markit UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index - where a figure below 50 represents contraction - the sector registered 47.1 in December, a small improvement on the 47 posted the month before.
The decline means the sector has failed to record any growth in the past 22 months.
Commercial and civil engineering activity remain in steep contraction, but there were encouraging signs in the housing subsector, which grew at the fastest rate since August 2007. A rise in residential construction projects meant activity reached 58.9 in December, compared with 53 the month before.
The level of new orders fell into decline after recording growth in November, while staff numbers remained retrenched. Elsewhere, input prices and future business expectations continued to rise.
CIPS chief executive David Noble said: “December was another disappointing month for the UK construction sector. Unlike other parts of the economy, it seems unable to escape the shackles of the recession, as it entered its 22nd successive month of decline.”