The latest output data from the government paints a mixed picture of construction.

Figures for the third quarter showed that overall the volume of work had risen. It was up 0.7% to £20m for the three months to September compared with the previous quarter, and had increased 2.1% on the same period last year.

New work was also up in the third quarter to £11.2m – an increase of 2% on the previous quarter and 5% on the same period last year.

However, the figures concealed a poor performance in the repairs and maintenance sector, where volumes continued to fall. It was down 0.8% on the preceding quarter and had fallen 1.6% on last year.

“Repair and maintenance is continuing to weaken, which is maybe a sign of consumer confidence,” said Allan Wilén, economics director at the Construction Products Association.

“We would hope that as we go into next year this would improve, but at the moment there is little sign of relief.” The figures also revealed that total construction employment was 1% higher in July compared with April but unchanged from last year.