Construction Output Slows In November

Bridge construction and other building appears to have slowed in November, with the latest Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index showing that output, employment and new business all rose at slower rates when compared with October.

Residential building activity rose at its weakest pace since June 2013, while commercial construction saw the most accelerated growth for the month, although the expansion was not as good as the eight-month high seen in October. And civil engineering saw the slowest rate of growth for six months, making it the worst performing sub-category in the sector.

David Noble, group chief executive officer at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, observed that supplies have continued to struggle in November, with shortages in skills, supply chain capacity and key materials all having an effect.

“There is a question mark over the coming months as the housing sector, normally the star performer, may drag back on recovery along with the lack of availability of skilled staff. Many firms were forced to use more expensive contractors and, further combined with the hoped-for continued job growth failing to materialise, this may leave commentators wondering what’s next,” he went on to add.

Manufacturing, meanwhile, was seen to grow in November, reaching 52.7 for the month. However, it was found that this was being driven by bigger companies only, with small to medium-sized enterprises not contributing overly to the overall trend for growth. The strongest expansion regarding output was seen with consumer goods producers, while growth was also seen in the investment good sector.