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  • Output in the construction industry fell back by 0.9% during the three months to November (compared to the previous three months), according to the latest estimates by the Office for National Statistics. New work activity was flat over the period, with activity dragged back by a 2.5% drop in Repair and Maintenance work. Social housing output fell back compared to the previous three months for the first time since March 2013; the sector’s output remains 20% higher than a year ago but this growth rate has been slowing in recent months and Glenigan’s data points to further retractions in social housing activity. 
  • The Markit/CIPS Construction PMI survey indicated the slowest rate of expansion in December since July 2013. The index dropped to 57.6 from 59.4 in November, but remains well above the 50.0 mark that indicates no change. A slight drop in civil engineering activity ended a 17-month run of expansion in that sector. Respondents remained optimistic, with 52% expecting a rise in business activity during 2015 and only 13% forecasting a reduction. However this balance was its weakest since August 2013, pointing to some levelling off in growth 2015; uncertainty related to the General election was noted to have weighed on confidence.


  • The British Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Q4 economic survey found a strong end of 2014 for UK businesses. Both the manufacturing and service sectors reported strong growth in domestic sales and new orders. Export sales across both sectors recovered some ground lost during the third quarter of the year, but remained lower than seen during the first half of 2014. The net balances of both manufacturing and services firms that expanded their workforces reached their highest levels since the survey began in 1989.
  • The December REC/KPMG report on jobs, a survey of recruiters, found a strong rate of growth in permanent hiring after a lull in November. Conversely the number of vacancies for permanent roles rose at the slowest pace since mid-2015, though the availability of candidates for permanent roles also fell. In contrast to previous surveys, demand for construction workers rose at the slowest pace of any sector. 

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