It's not all bad: UK construction output grew more than expected in November

Emma Haslett
Follow Emma
Work Continues On The Crossrail Railway Project
Construction output rose faster than expected in November (Source: Getty)

Output in the UK's construction sector grew faster than expected in November, figures published today showed - suggesting things might not be as bad as they seemed in the sector.

Markit's purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the construction sector rose to 52.8 in November, above expectations of 52.2 and above October's figure of 52.6. Any figure above 50 denotes growth in the sector.

It's the third month in a row the figure has grown, suggesting its weak period following the Brexit vote was a blip, rather than a long-term trend. It follows a surprise fall in the PMI for the manufacturing sector.

The analysis also suggested price pressures may cause the figure to fall in the next few months. The rate of inflation was the fastest for more than five and a half years, Markit said - overwhelmingly linked to supplier price hikes in response to weak sterling.

“UK construction companies experienced a steady recovery in business activity during November, which continues the rebound from the downturn seen over the third quarter of 2016," said Tim Moore, senior economist at IHS Markit.

Read more: Hard Brexit would turn skills gap into a gulf for UK construction

"The brighter picture reflected another solid contribution from residential building and renewed growth in commercial work, which some companies linked to a resumption of projects that had been delayed after the Brexit vote."

"A major concern in the survey was that input prices surged in November, rising at the fastest rate since April 2011," added Howard Archer, chief European and UK economist at IHS Markit.

"A substantial amount of building components and materials are imported and prices are being pushed up markedly by sterling’s sharp overall drop."

Related articles