Construction orders rose 8% last year compared with the previous year, despite fears of an economic slump after the attacks on the World Trade Centre.
DTI figures show that orders in the final quarter of 2002 were 15% higher than the equivalent period in 2001. The picture was complicated by the fact that orders in October-December were 10% lower than in the third quarter.

Infrastructure, one of the top-performing sectors in the recent past, fared particularly poorly in the last three months of last year. In fact, it was a victim of its own success: a flood of orders for roads and rail work in July, August and September meant that orders suffered by comparison: they were 51% down. Overall, infrastructure orders increased 5% in 2002 compared with 2001.

The industrial sector was a poor performer in 2002. Orders fell 14% on 2001.

The most successful sector was public non-housing orders (excluding infrastructure), which benefited from a buoyant December. In 2002 the sector was 40% higher than the previous year.