Construction output suffered a surprise slowdown in October, new figures out today show.
The sector shrank by 0.6 per cent between September and October, falling below analyst expectations.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that the biggest downward contribution came from infrastructure, while repair and maintenance showed no growth.
Although construction output failed to record a second successive month-on-month improvement, the measure was up 0.7 per cent on October 2015.
Dr Howard Archer, chief European and UK economist at IHS Markit, noted that there was some positives in the data. New house building was up 2.4 per cent month-on-month, for instance.
While latest surveys offer some grounds for hope on the construction sector, there are still significant uncertainties for the sector going forward – particularly regarding some clients’ willingness to commit to major projects.
The clear possibility that the economy will slow appreciably over the coming months despite its current resilience and an uncertain outlook for the housing market are also concerns for the construction sector.
“October saw the biggest jump in private house building for almost a year though less work on commercial buildings and infrastructure projects saw overall construction output down on the month,” said ONS senior statistician Kate Davies.
“Meanwhile, new construction orders fell in the third quarter, thanks mainly to a large fall in orders for public projects such as schools and hospitals.
“Both indicators, however, can be quite volatile and, as usual, we warn against reading too much into one set of figures.”