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31st August 2017
Construction activity lost momentum over the winter months, but output remains ahead of a year ago according to official output data from ONS. Whilst construction output in February was particularly weak, being 1.7% down on the previous month, output during the three months December 2016 to February 2017 was still 1.5% up on the preceding three months and 1.8% higher than a year ago.
In part the recent cooling in construction output growth reflects the weakening in project starts tracked by Glenigan since the autumn. Encouragingly, the latest Glenigan Index has recorded a firming in project starts during March. This will help support construction output over the coming months as on-site work on these new projects gets underway.
The private new housing sector remains an important driver for industry growth. Sector output rose 2.1% during the three months to February against the preceding three months and was 6.3% up on a year earlier. New social housing output also improved, being 3.1% up on the previous three months and 5.0% ahead of a year ago. In contrast public housing repair maintenance and improvement (RM&I) output was down 11.6% during the three months to February on a year earlier.
Infrastructure output during the three months to February grew by 2.2% against the preceding three months, but was 5.5% lower than year ago. Industrial sector activity has also continued to weaken, falling by 12.0% against the preceding three months to stand 11.1% down on a year ago.
In contrast public non-residential new work has picked up in recent months, being 4.4% up on the preceding three months and 3.5% higher than a year ago. In addition commercial sector output has remained firm, rising by 2.5% against the preceding three months to stand 6.1% up on a year ago.
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