Spring sees construction warm up
Construction activity is growing again as spring weather boosts activity.
The latest seasonally adjusted IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) has been released, showing that construction activity remains unchanged at 52.5.
The industry is experiencing a slow start to the year, hampered by winter weather continuing into March, but as the weather warms up firms are reporting better activity they catch up on site.
While we rapidly approach the half-year mark, figures are reflecting only a modest growth during a period of political and economic uncertainty for the sector. Residential work remains the best performing sector as the industry attempts to tackle the housing crisis, with commercial work accelerating to a three-month high, and civil engineering bolstering the figures by remaining in growth for the second month running.
Looking across the board, new business has slipped into decline, prompting uncertainty to return to the industry including material cost concerns. This fragile confidence is reflected into the jobs market, with job creation dropping to a four-month low in the latest survey. Companies continue to report on the struggle to find skilled workers.
Peter Vinden, Managing Director of the Vinden Partnership comments: “After a slow start to the year, we are starting to see promising signs of growth and recovery for the construction industry.
“Although the figures are reasonably underwhelming, the signs are there for the industry to push on through the rest of the year. The beautiful weather in May has allowed many sites to catch up on work, which is pushing the figures towards growth.
“Purchasing costs remain a major worry for construction firms, with both political and economic uncertainty still unresolved.
“It must also be a worry that infrastructure, which has been leading the growth following major government investment programmes, has dipped. Until the Brexit question has been resolved, I envisage a turbulent year.”