The commercial construction sector in the UK expanded for the seventh consecutive month in March this year, though it was observed to be at a slow pace.
According to a survey of purchasing managers, commercial construction and civil engineering activity increased more quickly in the said period, while house-building slowed. Specifically, the PMI dropped to 52.2, but any figure above 50 means that activity is increasing.
The figures for the first quarter of 2017 also reflect the maintained construction output in the fourth quarter of last year that saw growth of 1.1%. This proves that the country’s economy has continued to grow at the beginning of this year from a slow growth at the end of last year.
Tim Moore, IHS Markit senior economist who compiles the purchasing managers’ survey, said:
“UK construction firms experienced a growth slowdown in March, with the loss of momentum centred on housebuilding.”
However, Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Markit, warned that there are still uncertainties in the country’s construction outlook. He stated:
“The strong likelihood that the economy will slow appreciably as 2017 progresses (despite its ongoing resilience in the fourth quarter of 2016) and a lacklustre housing market are serious concerns for the construction sector.”
Aside from this, the PMI showed that there was a fall in consumer spending at the beginning of this year, though it increased in February.