Economists still predict contraction in the sector in the first quarter of 2012

Construction output rose 6.1% in February, official figures from the Office for National statistics reveal.

The rise follows declines of 10.3% and 12.9% in December and January respectively.

Output in February totalled £7.8bn at 2005 prices, which is still 5% below the level of output in the same month last year.

The biggest boost was to the repair and maintenance sector, which grew 13% in February rebounding to its best month since November 2011, while new work grew 8% in February.

Despite the positive results Noble Francis, economics director at the Construction Products Association, said the outlook remained bleak.

He said: “Construction faces a very uncertain future with the latest new orders falling 14%, and private sector investment still not growing at a rate to compensate for the sharp falls in public sector spending on construction.

“It is now almost inevitable that construction output will fall in the first quarter of the year and have a negative effect on the growth in GDP.”