Output improves as infrastructure drives fresh growth


Output for the industry grew by 2.9 per cent during the period on a rolling three-month-on-three-month basis, according to the Office for National Statistics.

This latest dataset represented the third consecutive period of growth.

Infrastructure was the fastest-growing non-housing sector, with output up 4.7 per cent.

The private commercial market continued to struggle, however, with work declining 0.6 per cent over the period.

Private commercial, which is the second-biggest market by value after housebuilding, was 6.4 per cent smaller on a monthly basis in August than the same month of 2017.

Private housing was by far the fastest-growing sector, increasing 9.5 per cent over the three months on a quarterly basis.

Michael Thirkettle, chief executive of consulting and design agency McBain, said the latest figures would be “cautiously welcomed” by the industry.

“We’re still not out of the woods, however, with Brexit worries still on the horizon and the cost of imported materials remaining high due to the weak pound,” he said.

“Before this recent upturn in output we saw several months of decline, so evidence of sustained growth is needed before we can safely say we’re on the road to recovery.”

Month-on-month figures – which are more volatile – showed the volume of new work fell 0.7 per cent between July and August.

PMI data released last week showed that construction activity increased at the slowest rate in six months in September, while confidence among the firms surveyed fell to a five-year low.



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