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Contraction of UK construction industry runs into 21st month

Contraction of the UK construction extended into its 21st month in November according to the latest CIPS/Markit Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index.

The latest Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply index recorded an activity reading of 47 for last month, up slightly on October’s 46, but still below the 50 mark which indicates decline.

It is the twenty-first successive monthly contraction in activity within the UK construction industry.

The commercial and civil engineering subsectors reported further declines in activity during November.

Conversely, residential construction activity expanded for the third successive month, with November’s rate of growth solid and the highest in over two years.

Optimism over future business conditions in twelve months’ time was signalled during November with the anticipated recovery in economic conditions expected to result in improved workloads.

CIPS chief executive David Noble said: “There is little festive cheer for the UK construction industry which still remains very vulnerable.

“Despite a slight boost in volumes of new business, construction firms are still feeling the effects of the worst economic landscape seen in over a decade. 

“Twenty-one months of continued decline has hit the industry incredibly hard.

“One positive is that the sector is not contracting as sharply as it was this time last year and purchasing managers are remaining upbeat about future business conditions.

“However, it appears we are still some way off from returning to growth let alone reaching the level it was at only two years ago.”