Survey shows third successive month of slowdown for industry

Growth in construction activity slowed for a third successive month in August, according to the latest data from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.

The survey of purchasing managers recorded an index figure of 52.1, which compares to 54.1 in July and is down from a 58.5 in May, the highest figure since September 2007.

A figure above 50 shows there has been growth while a figure below indicates a decline.

David Noble, chief executive of CIPS, said: “Those who are looking for signs of a slowdown will find plenty to worry about. The most disturbing is the marked slowdown in the residential sector as this is here much of the recent sector growth has come from.

“The slight increase in public sector activity disguises continuing uncertainty about the scale of spending cuts which we have yet to experience. Employment levels falling for a second successive month will cause deep concern, not least for the ripple effects they may have on other sectors.”

CIPS said the housing sector showed a “marked slowdown” in August, which tallies with other macroeconomic data, including from the Nationwide building society this morning that showed a 0.9% fall in house prices in August.

There was a marginal fall in commercial activity while civil engineering was the only sub-sector to experience an increased rate of growth in August.