UK construction activity grew at the fastest rate in four months in November, driven by positivity in the house-building and commercial sectors, but Brexit uncertainty continued to hamper firms’ hopes for the future.
The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 53.4 last month, up on October’s reading of 53.2.
The figure is the survey’s second-highest reading since June 2017, and the highest in four months. Rising client demand was a key driver of output.
New orders growth picked up slightly, with confidence strengthening and employment rising at its fastest rate since December 2015.
But, the report added, new order growth remained softer than seen on average in the third quarter last year.
Companies also said they were less willing to commit to major projects because of Brexit uncertainties and concerns over the economy.
Duncan Brock, Group Director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, said: “After last month’s disappointing levels of business optimism, the construction sector perked up marginally in November.
“But before the champagne corks start popping, this rise in the overall index was small. Even with optimism at a three-month high, there is currently no indication that this will become a sustained rise as we approach the end of the year.
“Constrained supply chains were still underperforming as supplier operations worsened again and to their weakest level for three months. Suppliers reduced their stock levels and reports of raw material shortages gnawed away at efficiency.”