Construction activity in the UK increased at its fastest pace for more than a year in July.
This is according to the IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which revealed that activity in the sector throughout June was both robust and at an accelerated rate.
Building on the encouraging PMI of 53.1 in June – in itself a seven-month high – the figure for July highlights the sharp rise in pace of construction activity, with the PMI recorded at 55.8.
The sector as a whole performed well during July, with gains in new order growth and job creation, while house building helped to accelerate the heightened level of construction activity after expanding at its sharpest pace since December 2015.
Growth in new business has been attributed as one of the main reasons why the industry has enjoyed its largest increase in employment numbers for more than two-and-a-half years.
After reporting the fastest rise in overall output in construction since May 2017, respondents said that there have been improved demand conditions, higher volumes of new project starts, and because of the poor weather conditions earlier in the year, some of the work has been caught up with, further adding to construction activity.
As well as the sub-sector of house building, both commercial and civil engineering performed well; for the latter, the increase was only modest, but it was still faster in July than the month before.
For commercial activity, the industry experienced a rise at a rate not seen for more than two-and-a-half years.
The only hint of bad news came in the degree of positive sentiment regarding future workloads, which remained unchanged since last month.
This sentiment is still weaker than the long term average seen in the IHS Markit survey. The reason given for this is the uncertainty created by Brexit, which is holding businesses back.
But there is enough evidence to suggest that the industry will flourish if this uncertainty is removed.