The latest data from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) shows the slowest rate of decline for over a year.
The CIPS purchasing managers index recorded a figure of 47 in July, up from 45.9 in June. In February, it fell as low as 27.75. Anything below 50 is still a decline, so July’s activity was less than June’s but the rate at which it declined is getting slower.
However, construction still lags behind the manufacturing sector, which recorded the first rise in activity for 15 months, with a figure of 50.8.
July’s index still represents the 17th straight month of decline.
The survey also found that UK construction companies cut jobs for the 14th month running and that continued caution meant builders failed boost their purchasing activity, despite a near-stabilisation of new orders.
However, optimism about future activity levels in 12 months’ time continued to increase in July, reaching its highest level for over two years, according to the survey.