Residential construction activity increases at fastest pace in nearly a decade

The construction sector is expanding more slowly, but we're still seeing a strengthening of activity.

Markit's purchasing manager's index (PMI) came in at 58.9 in September, from 59.1. But economists had forecast a rise to 59.5 this month.

That's the five consecutive month of growth, and the latest figure is the second highest since September 2007.

Subcomponents performed well, with residential construction rising at its sharpest rate since November 2003, and optimism about business at its highest since April 2010 high.

That data suggests a further rebound in underlying demand across the construction sector, with job crefation also supported. More than five times as many respondents expected a rise in output (51 per cent) than they did a fall (nine per cent).

Markit's Tim Moore says that "construction is no longer the [UK's] weakest link" and that the reversal in fortunes is spanning "commercial, residential and public sector construction projects".

David Noble, chief executive at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply says that the construction sector is now "firing on all cylinders" and that "having been in the doldrums for so long, builders are using this renewal as a platform to invest".