The monthly rate of construction output showed signs of recovery in May, after an increase of 2.9% was recorded.
Following the release of the monthly data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the figures reveal a notable increase from the rate in construction activity recorded in April, attributed mainly to the significant increase in private housing repair and maintenance.
That growth – registered at 7.3% in May – is a welcome boost after a weak start to the year for this type of work, and the broader monthly construction output.
It is the second consecutive month in construction output growth; the 2.9% rise in May when compared to April follows a 0.5% increase from the figures recorded in March; it is positive after three successive months where declines were recorded in the monthly figures.
The reason for growth in output in the month of May was an increase recorded across all types of work; total all new work was up by 2.3% – which accounts for approximately two thirds of all work.
Repair and maintenance meanwhile – which is approximately the other third of all work – increased by 4%.
In financial terms, the ONS figures show that construction output increased by £384 million in May 2018 – with total housing repair and maintenance contributing £125 million to this increase.
However, the three-month on three-month rate of construction output has continued to decline; in the three months to May 2018, it declined by 1.7% – the third consecutive occasion this has happened.
The main reason for these figures was a decrease in new work, which was down by 2.5% in May – also the third successive month this has happened.
These figures tend to carry more weight as they can detect underlying trends in output.
That being said, output has shown signs of recovery in May and with April’s slight increase, might be the start of an upturn in fortunes.