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The Office for National Statistics reported last week that construction output in February fell 7% compared to February 2012, this marks the fourteenth straight month of decline on a year-on-year basis for industry output. By far the largest fall was in output of other public sector new work, which was down 21% compared to last February; new public housing output was also down, falling 8% compared to last year. Output volumes in the public sector have been falling far longer than in many privately funded sectors but tentative signs of revival can be found in Glenigan’s latest data on project starts. In the three months to March projects starts in the education, health and other public buildings all saw the value of starts up compared to the same period of 2012.

As equally worrying as the declines in public sector output are the falls being recorded in private sector output volumes. The commercial sector has seen falling output for over a year now, but the pace of decline did eased off in the first two months of this year with falls of 4% and 7% in January and February compared to the double digit falls seen last year. Industrial sector output also fell in February after seeing five months of gains previously, output of new work in February was 7% lower than February last year. Glenigan data on project starts offer little to suggest the sectors fortunes will improve, in the three months to March industrial starts were down 42%, office starts were down 19% and retail starts were down 50% compared to the three months to March last year.

Repair and maintenance work also continued to fall in February, down 6% compared to February last year, private housing RM&I saw the largest fall down 12% from last year. Increases in RM&I work were found in infrastructure and other public work which both increased by 4% from February 2012. 


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