UK construction output weakens

The UK construction sector slowed to its weakest rate in 10 months, according to the latest figures, with Brexit uncertainty causing a slowdown on new projects.

January’s IHS Markit/CIPS construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) show a loss of momentum for the UK construction sector.

New business activity weakened to its lowest level for ten months, with new orders increasing only marginally, contributing to the slowest expansion of employment numbers for two and a half years.

The seasonally adjusted Construction Total Activity Index dropped to 50.6 in January, from 52.8 in December. The index has posted above the 50.0 no-change mark in each month since March 2018.

Despite the poor figures, construction firms remain positive about the outlook for the rest of 2019 with around 41% of the survey panel anticipating a rise in output, while only 16% forecast a fall.

Tim Moore, Economics Associate Director at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey, said: “UK construction growth shifted down a gear at the start of 2019, with weaker conditions signalled across all three main categories of activity.

“Commercial work declined for the first time in ten months as concerns about the domestic economic outlook continued to hold back activity. The latest survey also revealed a loss of momentum for house building and civil engineering, although these areas of the construction sector at least remained on a modest growth path.”