The latest monthly Economic & Construction Market Review from Barbour ABI reveals that November saw £4.6 billion worth of construction contracts awarded.
Unfortunately though, the Barbour ABI data – based on a three-month rolling average – is bad news for the sector because it actually indicates a decline of 13.9% from the figure recorded in October.
It reveals a trend that is worrying for the sector; November’s value of construction contracts awarded is discernibly lower than October, which itself a slight decrease from the figure in September.
It is the third successive month during which the value of contracts awarded in the construction industry has declined, since August, which was the best performing month of the year.
In terms of annual comparisons, November 2018 fared even worse, with a huge decline of value in construction contracts of 37.4% from November 2017.
The three-month on three-month series also reveals a decline; the figures from Barbour ABI show that in the three months to November, total contract award values were £15.7 billion – 27% down from the preceding three-month period.
Between August and October, contract award values were over £5 billion; now, they have fallen below that threshold and are at the values seen in early summer.
Where November did fare well as in the number of contracts awarded; like October, this figure increased.
For November, the number of construction contracts awarded is 7.1% higher than October, which itself enjoyed a 23.3% increase from the month before.
November’s contract numbers are still lower than the same month of 2017, however.
Barbour ABI outlined the differing fortunes of contract award values and numbers.
“The value of construction contracts awarded in November decreased for the third month in a row, but the number of contracts has increased by 32% since September.”
This is perhaps why the outlook remains cautiously optimistic, though there is great potential for flattening of output levels in the short to medium term.