UK construction growth slows as poor weather takes toll
- 4 March 2014
- From the section Business
The UK's construction sector grew at a slower pace last month as the tough weather conditions hit housebuilding.
The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the sector slipped to 62.6 in February.
That was down from January's reading of 64.6, which was the highest since August 2007, but still well above the 50 level that marks expansion.
Markit said disruptions relating to "adverse weather conditions" contributed to the slowdown.
Housebuilding was particularly hit.
Residential construction increased, but at its slowest pace for four months, Markit said.
"Construction output growth succumbed somewhat to the recent wet weather, with temporary disruptions from heavy rainfall most acute for housebuilding activity in February," said Tim Moore, senior economist with Markit.
February's heavy rains contributed to what the Met Office confirmed was the UK's wettest winter since national records began in 1910.
Growth still strong
Civil engineering was the best performing area of construction, seeing its fastest rate of expansion since the survey began in April 1997.
Its performance was helped by higher spending by local authorities, in some cases in response to the rain.
Job creation in the sector was also strong, increasing at its fastest rate for three months.
"Bad weather took a bite out of progress in house building, but UK construction remains on a strong growth trajectory," said David Noble, chief executive officer at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply.
Bank of England governor Mark Carney has said the economy might suffer a temporary hit because of the rain and floods.
The construction sector accounts for about 7% of the UK's gross domestic product.