Construction grows for the first time since 2008

CONSTRUCTION activity expanded for the first time in two years as housebuilding underpinned growth in the sector that was hardest-hit by the recession, a leading survey revealed yesterday.

The CIPS/Markit purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the UK construction sector in March rose to 53.1, a sharp improvement from February’s 48.5 and comfortably above the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction.

The growth in activity was driven by housebuilding, which saw growth for the seventh consecutive month thanks to modest improvements in the UK housing market. Commercial activity returned to growth last month for the first time in 25 months.

However, Markit noted that the further sharp decline in employment within the UK construction sector recorded during March highlighted some fragility in the current upturn.