construction orders in September, October and November of 2000 were up 7% on the level recorded in the equivalent period of 1999, but dropped 14% compared with the strong order book in the June to August period.
The best performers relative to the same period last year were private commercial work (up 24% to £2.1bn), infrastructure (up 28% to £1.3bn), and public sector work excluding infrastructure (an increase of 1% to £689m), according to the DETR figures.

However, in private housing, orders were 10% lower than in September-November 1999, and public housing and housing association orders were 20% down. Private industrial orders experienced a 22% drop compared with 1999.

The overall value of orders in the three months to November 2000 was £5.89bn, compared with £5.49bn in the same period last year, and £6.82bn in June-August.

Figures for housebuilding starts show a 12% drop year on year, with 39 500 homes started.