Construction activity at five month high

Robyn Hall

November 2, 2011

The Markit/CIPS construction PMI headline activity index jumped to 53.9 in October from 50.1.

Sarah Bingham, economist at Markit, said: “The outlook for the sector remains uncertain, with October seeing a further weakening in sentiment regarding business expectations.

“Furthermore the increase in employment recorded was fractional, despite the rise in new business and activity. This suggests that constructors remain tentative about the longevity of the sector’s growth profile.”

Andrew Duncan, managing director of Turner & Townsend, added: “There has been a substantial battening down of the hatches across the construction sector in the past few months – but this data shows that the storm may be partially abating.

“The increase in new orders and moderate growth hint that the industry may be daring to hope once again.

“But the figures also reaffirm how weak demand is and with business confidence lower than at any point in nearly three years, just how fragile the uptick is.

“They come just a day after figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the construction industry shrank 4% in the year to the end of September.”

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