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Output falls by 0.3% in February as R&M and infrastructure slow

Construction output slowed by 0.3 per cent month-on-month in February, after slowdowns in industrial, R&M and infrastructure work, according to data from the ONS.

The majority of sectors saw a decline in February compared to a month earlier with only private housing (3.9 per cent), public housing R&M (4.4 per cent) and non-housing R&M (0.2 per cent) reporting an increase.

New work in the private housing sector is now at its highest monthly level for over five years.

The largest decline was reported in the industrial sector, which dipped by 9.8 per cent month-on-month, while infrastructure slowed by 1.7 per cent. As a result, new work in infrastructure fell to its lowest level for 14 months.

Private commercial work also saw a decline, falling by 0.2 per cent, while public housing dropped by 2.1 per cent.

Overall, new work in Februrary was 0.2 per cent lower than in January, while R&M work was 0.5 per cent lower over the same period.

Year-on-year, results were more positive, with all work 0.3 per cent higher in February 2016 than it was in February 2015. Private housing work was 10.6 per cent higher over the same period, while R&M work was up by 0.8 per cent.

However, year-on-year, the industrial sector contracted by 13.8 per cent, while infrastructure work fell by 5.3 per cent. The level of industrial work is now at its lowest level since January 2014.

Data from JLL and Glenigan has suggested that the commercial sector has seen a slowdown in the first quarter of the year, with industrial activity falling by over 10 per cent.

Commenting on the data, Mark Robinson, chief executive of Scape Group, said: ”Private housing is leading the way in terms of construction output growth, with February seeing the highest level of private housing on record - good news considering the chronic housing shortage we are currently experiencing.

”However it is important that we have the infrastructure to support all these new homes and this is something the government needs to address.

“Worryingly, infrastructure output is down 5 per cent on last year. Although the government has set out ambitious plans for infrastructure investment, many projects could be brought forward so that places like the North can feel the benefits sooner.

“Devolving greater powers will also better position the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine to drive their own growth in the long term.”

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