Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply says construction industry has expanded for 71st consecutive months.

Growth in the construction sector in December was at its highest for eight months.

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply said that its construction purchasing managers’ index rose to 57.2 in December from 56.7 in November. This was the 71st consecutive month above 50, which marks the point where contraction becomes expansion.

Roy Aycliffe, director of professional practice at CIPS, said that the commercial sector performed particularly well, as rates of growth reached their highest in almost five years.

He added: “Purchasing managers saw 2004 close with strong growth across all areas of the construction sector driven by higher levels of business activity resulting from new contracts.”