The UK construction industry grew at its fastest rate so far this year, driven by a strong performance in civil engineering according to the latest Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI figures.
April saw output rise sharply to 53.1, up from March’s figure of 52.1 – above the growth threshold of over 50.0.
There was good news for the housebuilding sector as output in the sector reached a four-month high.
Civil engineering was once again the strongest performing sub-sector.
Commercial building performance remained slightly subdued, posting only a slight increase in April.
New work increased at its strongest rate so far in 2017 but was still some way off its post-recovery peak in early 2014.
The rise in new work spurred on employment in the construction industry, with employment growth at its strongest in almost a year.
Another consequence of the increased workload was an upturn in construction materials purchased in April.
Builders were once again faced with a rise costs due to the rate of inflation but was some way off the peak of this at the start of the year.
Confidence in the industry’s future over the next 12 months remains strong, with 49% of respondents expecting to see an increase in work , with only 10% expecting to see a decrease.
Tim Moore, Senior Economist at IHS Markit said: “April’s survey reveals a positive start to the second quarter of 2017, with a robust upturn in civil engineering activity helping to boost the construction industry. There were also more encouraging signs from the house building sector, as growth recovered to its strongest so far this year. However, the performance of the commercial building sector remained subdued in the context of the past four years.
“UK construction companies noted that the resilient economic backdrop helped to drive up client spending in April. Greater workloads led to the fastest pace of job creation since May 2016 and a continued squeeze on sub-contractor availability.”