CIPS survey shows weakest ever activity levels

Construction activity has hit its lowest level since records began in 1997, according to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS).

The Purchasing Managers’ Index dropped to 36.7 last month, compared to June’s figure of 38.8. A figure of 50 represents the no change mark.

With workloads lower and cost pressures remaining intense, jobs in the sector were shed at the fastest rate in over 11 years.

Roy Ayliffe, director of professional practice at the CIPS, said: “Housing was again the sick man of the industry, as levels of activity plunged to a record low.”

Commercial activity also declined at a record pace, and there was a marked fall in civil engineering activity.

The drastic decline has resulted in a lack of confidence amongst contractors.

Ayliffe commented: “July marked an end to constructors’ optimism about recovery, as spirits were knocked by the persistent and rapid decline in new business and activity."