Thursday 4 April 2019 9:26 am

Eurozone construction growth slows as bloc faces gloomy economy

Growth in the Eurozone construction sector slowed in March, according to a major survey released today, as commercial and infrastructure construction decelerated.

Read more: Eurozone manufacturing sector contracts with Germany shrinking fastest

The modest growth meant the bloc’s construction sector has expanded for 29 months in a row while its manufacturing industry struggles.

The IHS Markit construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI), which indicates the health of the sector, scored 52.2 in March, down from 52.6 in February. A number above 50 shows growth.

The news comes after IHS Markit revealed earlier this week that the Eurozone manufacturing sector experienced its worst contraction in nearly six years in March. Germany led the fall as the bloc faced a weakening global economy.

The service sector grew unexpectedly fast in March, however, IHS Markit data showed this week.

House building in the single currency area grew at a slightly faster rate than in February, achieving its quickest expansion in 2019 so far.

Firms continued to increase their staff numbers in March, driven in particular by a faster rise in employment in Germany than in the month before.

Construction companies in the Eurozone were more optimistic in March than in February. The IHS Markit survey showed they remained confident of an increase in activity in 2019.

IHS Markit economist Eliot Kerr said: “Growth was underpinned by a further rise in new business which saw firms maintain a marked pace of hiring.”

Read more: Eurozone services sector grows faster than expected

“Meanwhile, input price inflation eased to its softest in the past eight months,” he said. “The trend was driven by a slower rise in costs burdens across each of the 'big-three' [Germany, France and Italy] Eurozone economies.”