Construction hits eight-month high

The construction industry jumped to an eight-month high in February, according to the latest Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). The figures have boosted hopes that the UK economy will return to growth.

The survey of the construction sector, where a reading above 50 indicates growth – has risen from 53.7 in January to 56.5 in February.

There has also been an increase in housebuilding, which declined in the final four months of 2010. Meanwhile, civil engineering work grew at its fastest pace for three years and levels of commercial building work remained strong.

However, the construction sector is still fragile and the sector has been affected by government cuts and low levels of bank lending, the survey revealed.

David Noble, chief executive officer at the CIPS, said: “A weather-beaten UK construction sector is showing signs of repair, with stronger rates of activity and a rise in new business continuing the reversal of fortune since the end of 2010. However, this new phase of recovery is at least in part built on shifting sands.

“The situation is still fragile, however, considering the likely impact of government cuts. Concern about the level of bank lending is also having a negative impact on confidence.”

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