The construction industry has continued to show signs of recovery, with quarterly and monthly growth in output, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures.
After three consecutive declines in output in the three-month on three-month series, activity in the sector has finally returned to growth, with a 0.9% rise in the three months to June 2018.
This is particularly welcome because, although the monthly figure for May revealed growth, it is the three-month series that provides the most comprehensive picture of the industry’s underlying trends; the monthly figure, while encouraging when positive, is more volatile. Therefore, these figures from the ONS will be a welcome boost for the sector.
The rise of 0.9% has helped the UK construction industry returned to output figures seen in December 2017.
According to the ONS data, the main driver of increased output in the three months to June was repair and maintenance work, which rose by 2.7%; all new work meanwhile, remained flat.
In terms of the monthly figures, construction once again performed well; at the start of the year, the sector suffered from four successive months of contraction. But after a 2.9% rise in May, June has also fared well, with output increasing by 1.4%.
ONS data suggests that the main reason for growth in construction activity was a sharp rise in infrastructure new work, which went up by 9.2%.
When commenting on the GDP data, Rob Kent-Smith, Head of National Accounts, said construction has benefited from better weather conditions.
He said: “The economy picked up a little in the second quarter, with both retail and construction helped by the good weather and rebounding from the effects of the snow earlier in the year.”
This is certainly the picture from anecdotal evidence, which suggests the hot weather in June had a positive impact on the construction output, even though it is hard to determine whether this specifically boosted the value of work.