UK construction growth slows more than expected ahead of General Election but outlook is most positive in nine years

Lynsey Barber
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Construction industry outlook is positive (Source: Getty)

The UK construction sector has disappointed, with official figures showing growth has slowed more than expected in the run-up to May's General Election.

The latest data from Markit's purchasing managers index survey came in at 57.8 in March. Although that's still way above the 50 mark which denotes growth, it's significantly down from 60.1 in February and below expectations of 59.5.

It takes growth to a three-month low and below the average for the whole of last year of 61.8, however, any reading over 50 indicates a positive output in the industry.

Despite the more tempered growth, construction firms indicated the most positive 12-month outlook in nine years, and since before the financial crisis.

“UK construction output growth has settled in at a strong pace so far in 2015, although the recovery has lost some of its swagger since last year," said Markit senior economist Tim Moore.

“All three main categories of construction activity saw a growth slowdown in March, in part reflecting softer new business gains as some clients delayed spending decisions ahead of the general election. However, UK construction companies are highly upbeat about their prospects for growth over the course of the next 12 months, helped by improving economic fundamentals, strong order books and a healthy pool of new invitations to tender,” he added.

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