More than half of construction businesses think that construction activity will rise over the next 12 months, according to the latest figures from Markit/Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply.
The latest Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers Index found that 59 per cent of surveyed businesses anticipate a rise in construction activity in the next year, the highest degree of positive sentiment since January 2007.
Volumes of new work were found to increase for the 11th successive month, and this rise also contributed to a sharp increase in employment numbers across the sector, the survey found.
The index showed once again a growth in construction activity for March 2014, registering at 62.5 (any figure above 50 denotes growth). This was virtually unchanged from February, but a slower rate of growth than the peak of 64.6 in January, though the index has shown growth in industry activity for 11 successive months.
Housing activity was the best performing sector for growth, while commercial expanded sharply. Civil engineering slowed down after a record high in February owing to flood relief work.
However, lead times for materials deliveries lengthened by their second fastest rate since July 1997, with respondents reporting pressures on supplier capacity, while sub-contractor availability dropped by its fastest rate since September 2000.
Markit senior economist Tim Moore said: “Expectations for construction growth over the year ahead have now reached their highest since the start of 2007, and a strong pipeline of new work is fuelling job creation across the sector.
“However, the latest survey does little to dispel concerns that supplier capacity will become a fly in the ointment. Lead-times for the delivery of construction materials lengthened in March by one of the greatest amounts since the survey began in April 1997, while sub-contractor availability fell at the fastest rate for thirteen-and-a-half years.
Thinking about a new start in your career? Find your next construction role with our job board Careers in Construction