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Construction activity reaches new peak

Construction activity has seen its sharpest rise since August 2007, according to the latest survey from Markit/Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply

The latest Purchasing Managers Index from Markit/CIPS registered at 64.6 in January 2014, up from 62.0 in December 2013. Any reading above 50 within the index denotes growth.

The January index figure means that construction activity has risen by its sharpest rate since August 2007. Residential construction remained the best performing category in the month, and saw the steepest rise in activity since November 2003. Commercial construction and civil engineering work both saw a significant rise last month, both reaching their highest rate since summer 2007.

New work volumes saw their ninth consecutive monthly rise in January, again the fastest since summer 2007, while the survey recorded the eighth consecutive month for growth in employment levels. Meanwhile confidence levels for the year ahead were the highest registered since September 2009.

The latest data indicated a rise in average cost burdens, despite inflation hitting a five month low.

Markit senior economist Tim Moore said: “January’s survey provides reassurance that the UK construction recovery remains on track. The latest data show positive developments on a number of fronts, with job creation rebounding at the start of the year while output and new business growth was the fastest since the summer of 2007.

“While input cost inflation eased in January, there were again signs that some suppliers are struggling to adjust to greater demand for construction materials. Vendor lead-times were lengthening even before the surge in construction output began last year, and now firms are reporting that cutbacks to capacity have caused supply bottlenecks as demand picks up across the sector.”



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