Construction activity hits 11-month high

2 March 2012

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2 March 2012 | Adam Leach

Expansion in activity and new business orders pushed the UK construction sector up to an 11-month high.

The CIPS/Markit UK Construction PMI for February, published today, recorded a robust expansion figure of 54.3 as the rate of growth sped up from 51.4 in January. The figure, the highest since March last year, was driven by increased output in each of the three sectors - housing, commercial and civil engineering.

Buyers responding to the survey reported a marked rise in business as the number of successful tenders submitted rose, while the size and value of contracts was also reported to have increased. But the rising activity in the sector didn’t carry through to recruitment, with employment dropping as a result of reorganisation in companies.

David Noble, CEO at CIPS, said: “The construction sector’s relatively buoyant start to 2012 continued in February, as sustained growth affirmed the industry’s ongoing recovery from the financial crisis in 2008. However, the increase in new work from sizeable contracts was tempered by the moderate dip in overall employment.”

Sarah Bingham, economist at Markit and author of the UK Construction PMI, said: “The improved performance of the construction sector adds to other positive data released on the UK economy. However, it remains to be seen whether GDP growth for the first quarter will be recorded and, if it is, any expansion is likely to be only modest as general economic conditions remain fragile.”

The survey also reported anecdotal evidence from respondents suggesting factors such as better visibility over future work, new market initiatives and healthier economic conditions pushed business confidence to a nine-month high.


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