UK construction suffers worst fall in more than a year in January

Jessica Morris
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UK construction unexpectedly fell in January (Source: Getty)

UK construction suffered its worst fall in more than a year in January, due to a heavy decline in house-building.

Output in the construction industry fell 2.6 per cent from a month earlier, when it had risen 0.6 per cent. The reading came in way below economists' expectations - many had forecast a rise of 1.3 per cent.

The fall was primarily due to a drop in new work - that figure slipped 4.2 per cent compared with December 2014.

(Source: Office of National Statistics)

Stefan Friedhoff, global corporates managing director for construction at Lloyds' commercial arm, said:

While this data appears to show a continuation of the disappointing output registered in the final few months of 2014, other industry surveys suggest 2015 has had a better start. More than six years after the recession hit, the industry is robust in dealing with long-term challenges, including tight margins, high input costs and a perennial shortage of subcontractors.

The sector is resilient and firms will remain vigilant in the hope that spending on construction and infrastructure increases as the year progresses.

A separate survey released earlier this year showed the UK's construction sector actually rebounded in January.

The Markit purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to 59.1 from December's 17-month low of 57.6, lifted by residential home-building. Any reading above 50 indicates growth.

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