Data reveals little change since November, but chief executive of CIPS is upbeat about outlook

The construction industry contracted for the 22nd consecutive month in December, according to latest figures from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply.

The CIPS/Markit construction purchasing managers index stood at 47.1 - a score below 50 indicates a contraction. Although this was similar to November’s score of 47, it was a substantial improvement in the 29.3 figure of December 2008.

Housing activity, however, increased for the fourth month in a row and at its highest rate since August 2007.

David Noble, chief executive officer at the CIPS, said: "Though the sector ended the year on a bad note, there are some glimmers of hope.

"Purchasing managers remain confident that 2010 will be a much better year for the construction sector and that it will begin to grow again."