Construction output declines in March but housebuilding grows at fastest rate since May 2012


UK construction output contracted in March for the fifth month in a row, according to the latest Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index.

The index edged up to 47.2 from 46.8 in February, but remained below the 50 mark that separates contraction from expansion.

Markit said the unusually cold weather, combined with subdued underlying demand, had held construction output back.

However there was some good news as the decline in new orders was the least sharp since October, while housebuilding grew at the fastest rate since May 2012.

The lift in residential work helped boost optimism among firms to its highest level in almost a year, as they forecast a rise in output over the coming 12 months.