Construction output growth remained unchanged in May, according to the monthly seasonally adjusted IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).
At 52.5, the PMI in May is the exact same level as it was in April – which itself was the fastest pace of construction output growth for five months.
Although this suggests that the industry is subdued, the PMI is above the no-change figure of 50.0 and it is the second consecutive month where growth has been recorded.
Sam Teague, Economist at IHS Markit, said: “The May PMI data signalled an unchanged pace of activity growth across the UK’s construction sector since April’s somewhat underwhelming rebound, yet nevertheless indicating a recovery in the second quarter after the contraction seen at the start of the year.
“However, activity in May was once again buoyed by some firms still catching up from disruptions caused by the unusually poor weather conditions in March, and a renewed drop in new work hinted that the recovery could prove short-lived.
“Inflows of new business slipped back into decline, signalling the resumption of the downward trend in demand seen during the opening quarter.
“Companies frequently noted that Brexit uncertainty and fragile business confidence led clients to delay building decisions in May.”
In terms of the sub-sectors, residential remains the strongest for the third straight month.
Although May’s construction output growth in the sub-sector eased from that of the month before, residential remained in growth.
For commercial and civil engineering, both showed growth in output for the second straight month.
The commercial sub-sector was set apart from the other two as the only one to record a faster expansion rate in May than was recorded in April.
Looking to the future, the looming impact of Brexit is causing uncertainty and, coupled with an expected slowdown in construction, optimism hit a seven-month low.