Residential Schemes Boost UK Construction
There’s no denying that the UK’s construction sector has had a difficult start to the year, with activity falling sharply in March as a result of the unusually cold, snowy and icy weather that much of the country experienced.
However, the latest IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) shows that activity rebounded strongly in April and that residential construction buoyed the sector overall.
The PMI climbed to 52 in April, up from the 47 recorded in March, which brought the index to a 20-month low.
Residential work was singled out, expanding at its fastest rate since May last year, while the organisations noted that both commercial and civil engineering posted “modest returns to growth”.
However, pressures on the construction supply chain continued and this dented performance in some areas.
Duncan Brock, group customer relationship director at CIPS, commented: “The effects of the previous month’s bad weather were echoed in April as supply chains stayed under the cosh.”
He noted that stock shortages and capacity difficulties made it hard for suppliers to get on top of their backlog of orders and ensure that all the sites in the UK waiting for materials received what they needed.
Although the improvement recorded in the PMI this month is welcomed, some experts have cautioned that there is still a long way to go before the country’s construction industry truly rebounds.
Speaking to the Guardian, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics Samuel Tombs said that the planned reduction in public sector gross investment in the construction sector this fiscal year is likely to dent its prospects.
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