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4 January 2012 | Adam Leach
Faster growth in the construction sector
last month was not significant enough to calm purchasers’ concerns over the
sector’s short-term prospects.
The Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI for
December recorded a figure of 53.2 for December, extending the run of consecutive
growth to 12 months. While the figure showed the sector grew more quickly than
in November (52.3), confidence over the future remained weak.
The increase in activity came as purchasing
managers in all three sub-sectors - housing, commercial and civil engineering -
reported rises. It was the first time there had been unanimous growth in nine
months. Civil engineering saw the fastest rise, while the residential sector
increased at its slowest pace since December 2010. New business also grew for
the third straight month, but at a slower rate.
The report indicated purchasing managers in
the sector expect to see growth over the next year. However, this confidence
was constrained by concerns over market conditions and client confidence.
Commenting on the findings, CIPS CEO David Noble
said: “Despite the overall growth in construction output and relatively milder
weather conditions, December’s PMI painted a mixed picture and therefore
offered little to raise the spirits.
“Overall expectations for the coming year
were generally hopeful, but continue to be skewed by wider economic
uncertainties. Although there were modest increases in employment, it’s likely
that many firms were hiring through necessity rather than optimism about any
pick up in business in the next couple of months.”
Sarah Bingham, economist at Markit, said: “House building, commercial construction and
civil engineering all saw higher activity in December. However, the
sustainability of the overall rise in output remains uncertain, with confidence
about the year ahead still relatively subdued.”