The latest Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for December 2014 saw construction output slow for the third month in a row, falling from 59.4 in November to 57.6 in December. The rate marks the sector’s slowest growth since July 2013.
While below the expected 59.0 as forecast by economists, the figure still puts the industry well above its long-term average. Any reading over 50 indicates growth.
In terms of individual sectors, December was a disappointing month for civil engineering, which saw its first fall in output since May 2013, while housebuilding saw a slow down in its growth rate to levels not seen since June 2013.
But, overall, the year 2014 was the most promising for housebuilding, with the report highlighting that it was the sector’s highest output since Markit started its records in 1997.
Markit senior economist Tim Moore explained: “While new business growth moderated to its lowest for a year-and-a-half in December, UK construction firms are still highly upbeat about their prospects for output growth in 2015.”
This will be music to the current government’s ears in the lead up to the general election in May this year, after making it a priority to boost housebuilding in the UK.
Those working in the construction industry should also be seeing some benefit in their wage packets, as the survey indicated a growth in subcontractor pay in December nearly equalling the record-high rate seen in November of last year.
The figures have led to leading economists predicting that pay may recover in 2015, with the year potentially seeing its first widespread increase in wages since the financial crisis hit in 2008/09.