UK construction activity expanded at the weakest pace in three months in August largely mirroring lack of new work on infrastructure projects, survey data from IHS Markit showed Tuesday.
The IHS Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply construction Purchasing Managers’ Index fell notably to 52.9 in August from July’s 14-month peak of 55.8. The score was also below the expected 54.9.
“The sector is hovering too close for comfort to the no change mark which makes it a contender for more disappointment next month,” Duncan Brock, group director at the CIPS, said.
“Though the path to Brexit is paved with good intentions, without significant progress the sector will soon be building castles in the air rather than on solid ground,” Brock added.
All three broad categories of construction activity registered a loss of momentum since the previous month.
Commercial building was the best performing area of construction output in August, followed closely by residential work. However, the latest expansion of housing activity was the weakest since March.
Meanwhile, work on civil engineering projects decreased for the first time in five months as survey respondents cited a lack of new work on infrastructure projects.
New business growth moderated from July’s 14-month peak as Brexit-related uncertainty continued to hold back investment spending.
Higher overall workloads encouraged additional staff recruitment across the construction sector in August. Employment growth held close to the two-and-and-a-half year peak seen in July.
Despite stretched supply chains and rising energy-related costs, latest data indicated that input price inflation edged down to its lowest since July 2016.
Construction companies were optimistic that business activity would expand over the coming 12 months, but the degree of confidence eased to its weakest since May.