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Construction growth cools

The latest Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI index shows that growth in the construction sector fell in November to its lowest level in 13 months thanks to slowing growth in the civil engineering and housing and commercial sectors.

The index, which measures the increase and decrease of purchasing managers’ activity, fell to 59.4 last month, in comparison to October’s score of 61.4.

However, the figure remained above 50 points, which marks the difference between contraction and expansion.

Tim Moore, Markit’s senior economist explained: “The construction sector remains a strong growth engine within the UK economy, but momentum has undoubtedly cooled since the summer.

“November’s survey highlights that housing, commercial and civil engineering activity all expanded at the slowest rates for over a year.”

A rise in workloads was seen to have been met with a boost in staffing levels. Jobs in the construction industry were filled at an accelerated pace. This increase in demand also led to the steepest increase in sub-contractor rates since the survey first began in 1997.

The survey also saw a continued rise in average costs as well as a higher demand for construction materials.

On the topic of the sector’s future, respondents were largely optimistic.

Moore added: “Looking ahead, construction firms are optimistic overall about their growth prospects for the next 12 months, reflecting strong confidence that positive spending patterns will continue.

“However, some construction companies noted that uncertainties ahead of next year’s general election had weighed on business confidence and influenced clients’ willingness to commit to new projects.”

Group chief executive officer at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply David Noble concluded that while growth has slowed, it has continued, to the overall benefit of the sector.

He highlighted that, contrary to previous findings, growth was being seen in the north and not just the south of the country.