Growth in the UK’s construction sector continued in December but slowed to its lowest since September as some firms were affected by rising Covid-19 cases.
The closely followed IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction purchasing managers’ index hit a reading of 54.3 last month, down from 55.5 in November.
Any reading above 50 is seen as growth.
Analysts had forecast a reading of 54 for the month.
Tim Moore, director at IHS Markit, said: “UK construction companies ended last year on a slightly weaker footing as renewed pandemic restrictions held back the recovery, especially in commercial work and civil engineering.
“Some firms commented on disruption from rising Covid-19 cases, while others noted a lack of new work to sustain the rapid growth rates seen earlier in 2021.”
Duncan Brock, group director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS), said: “Though the overall index moved down slightly in December there was light at the end of the tunnel for builders in terms of the strongest order numbers since August, reduced pressure on business costs and some improved delivery times for essential materials.
“Residential building has powered on every month since June 2020 and was the best performing category in the last month of 2021.
“Commercial building struggled to gain a stronger footing in a weakened UK economy and civil engineering activity fell back into contraction.”