UK construction sector ’unexpectedly expands’

UK construction sector ’unexpectedly expands’
Published: 03 November 2011

The UK’s construction sector unexpectedly grew at the fastest pace in five months in October, according to a new survey.

The Markit/Cips construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) jumped to 53.9 in October from 50.1 in September, defying forecasts for a dip to 50.0, which marks no growth.

The survey cited a spike in new commercial business.

However, activity in the housing construction sector continued to fall.

"The outlook for the sector remains uncertain, with October seeing a further weakening in sentiment regarding business expectations," said Markit economist Sarah Bingham.

"Furthermore, the increase in employment recorded was fractional, despite the rise in new business and activity.

"This suggests that constructors remain tentative about the longevity of the sector’s growth profile."

It comes after Tuesday’s announcement that the UK economy grew faster than economists forecast in the third quarter of 2011, expanding by 0.5%.