Figures from buyers' body CIPS showed the industry continued to decline in December

The buyers’ body CIPS has released its first construction statistics of the New Year and they show the industry continuing to decline in December.

The construction index finished the year on 47.1, below the 50 no-change mark for the 22nd consecutive month.

But there was some good news. The housing index remained positive for the fourth month running and growth appears to be strengthening.

Meanwhile optimism among purchasing managers about future activity rose slightly. But as the graph shows the optimism index must be treated with a bit of caution as it tends to rather overstate the upside and through the whole of this recession has dropped into negative territory in just two months.