The figures show that construction's late 1990s' boom continued into last year despite fears that a slowdown was hitting the industry. Forecasters predict that output growth will slow this year before spending on public services reverses that trend next year and in 2004.
The DTI figures show that orders in the final quarter of last year fell by 2% compared with the same quarter in 2000. Private housing bucked the trend in the rest of the private sector by increasing 6% year-on-year and 15% in the final quarter of 2001, compared with the same quarter in 2000.
The public sector was worth almost £7bn more than it was in 2000, a 13% increase
Public spending on infrastructure rose from £1.4bn to £2.1bn and that on schools and colleges from £1bn to £1.5bn.
Industrial spending decreased slightly last year, with increased expenditure on factories outweighed by a fall in money spent on warehouses. The commercial sector fared better – new orders rose from £9.7bn to £10.2bn.