Con­struc­tion sec­tor en­joys eight months of growth in a row

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Helen Chan­dler-Wilde

THE con­struc­tion in­dus­try in­creased out­put to a four-month high in Novem­ber with a pur­chas­ing man­agers’ in­dex (PMI) read­ing of 53.4 in Novem­ber, up from 53.2 in Oc­to­ber.

Novem­ber was the eighth month in a row of ex­pan­sion for the in­dus­try and the fastest month of growth since July. It was led by house build­ing, although civil and com­mer­cial projects also in­creased. Although Brexit af­fected the mood of firms, op­ti­mism still rose to the high­est level for three months, from a six-month low in Oc­to­ber.

Over­all, client de­mand rose but IHS Markit, which com­piles the sur­vey, re­ported some anec­do­tal ev­i­dence of new or­ders and pub­lic sec­tor spend­ing be­ing put on hold as cus­tomers waited for a clearer out­come on Brexit.

The num­ber of peo­ple em­ployed in the in­dus­try grew as busi­ness ac­tiv­ity in­creased, at the fastest rate since De­cem­ber 2015.

Tim Moore, eco­nom­ics as­so­ci­ate di­rec­tor at IHS Markit, said: “Novem­ber data in­di­cates that the UK con­struc­tion sec­tor re­mains in ex­pan­sion mode, with re­silient busi­ness ac­tiv­ity trends seen for hous­ing, com­mer­cial and civil en­gi­neer­ing ac­tiv­ity.

“The lat­est over­all rise in con­struc­tion out­put was the fastest since July, helped by a stronger con­tri­bu­tion to growth from house build­ing ac­tiv­ity.”

But Dun­can Brock, group di­rec­tor at the Char­tered In­sti­tute of Pro­cure­ment and Sup­ply, said there was rea­son to be cau­tious about the pos­i­tive re­sults.

“Be­fore the cham­pagne corks start pop­ping, this rise in the over­all in­dex was small,” he said. “Even with op­ti­mism at a three-month high, there is cur­rently no in­di­ca­tion that this will be­come a sus­tained rise as we ap­proach the end of the year.”

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