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UK construction maintains growth

The construction industry had a strong overall performance in March with sharp rises in activity and employment maintained, according to a survey.
The Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) posted 62.5 in March, fractionally down from the 62.6 recorded in the previous month but lower than the near six-and-a-half year high recorded during January (64.6).

However, the latest reading signalled a steep overall expansion of UK construction activity, and the index has now registered above the 50.0 no-change value for 11 months in a row.

Housing activity regained its place as the best performing category of construction in March, driven by improving underlying demand across the sub-sector. The upturn in residential construction growth partly reflected a rebound in output following some weather-related disruptions in the previous month.

Meanwhile, the rate of civil engineering output growth slowed markedly in March, following a flood relief driven survey-record high during February.

Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit and author of the Markit/CIPS Construction PMI, said: “Expectations for construction growth over the year ahead have now reached their highest since the start of 2007, and a strong pipeline of new work is fuelling job creation across the sector.

“However, the latest survey does little to dispel concerns that supplier capacity will become a fly in the ointment. Lead-times for the delivery of construction materials lengthened in March by one of the greatest amounts since the survey began in April 1997, while sub-contractor availability fell at the fastest rate for thirteen-and-a-half years.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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