UK construction activity grows in March

| April 6, 2010 | 0 Comments

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply/Markit construction PMI index surged in March for the first time in over two years as housebuilding picked up.

The index jumped to 53.1 points in March, up from 48.5 the previous month and the first month the index has enjoyed growth since February 2008.

Any reading above 50 indicates growth within the sector.

The growth was attributed to a rise in new orders in the housing and commercial sectors, according to the survey.

However, civil engineering, a major sub-sector which is fuelled primarily by public spending, continued to fall and actually increased its pace of contraction during the month.

David Noble, the chief executive of CIPS, comments: “The recession hit construction the hardest and because the industry is operating from such a low base, this upturn may be short-lived.

“While overall industry improvement was bolstered by private sector expenditure - especially in the housing and commercial sectors - it’s worrying to see civil engineering contracting, given that mooted public sector spending cuts are yet to kick in,” he added.

However, today’s figures will be a boost to Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, who today confirmed the general election will be held in one month’s time - on 6 May.

The figures will also boost recovery hopes after it was revealed last month that GDP rose by 0.4% in the fourth quarter of 2009 - higher than earlier estimates.

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