Poor weather hits UK construction

Adverse weather conditions in December are partly responsible for ending a nine-month period of growth in the UK construction market, according to Markit.

The Markit/CIPS Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) posted a reading of 49.1 for December, down from 51.8 in November.

Of the three broad UK construction sub-sectors, only commercial recorded a rise in activity during December. The decrease in residential construction was the fastest since April 2009.

According to the construction industry, poor weather conditions this winter have weighed on its activity. Panelists reported clients had started to release more funds for construction work, therefore supporting the expansion in new business, but were affected by adverse weather. (article continues below)

December marked the third consecutive month of decreases in input buying for construction companies. Higher raw material prices have led to the fastest rate of inflation for seven months, or above the long-run series average.

Slow new order growth led to employment levels falling sharply for December, with some companies indicating further redundancies.