UK construction sector 'sees rapid growth'

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image captionJanuary saw the sharpest expansion in UK construction since August 2007

The UK's construction sector grew last month at its fastest pace for almost six and half years, a survey indicates.

The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the sector rose to 64.6 in January. This was up from 62.1 in December and well above the 50 level that marks expansion.

It was also the strongest reading since August 2007 and one of the highest figures since the survey began in 1997.

Martkit said the growth was led by an increase in house building.

"January's survey provides reassurance that the UK construction recovery remains on track," said Tim Moore, senior economist with Markit.

Markit said residential house building in January had expanded at its fastest rate since November 2003.

However, it said the recovery in the sector was broad based, with commercial building work and civil engineering activity both rising at their fastest pace for six and a half years.

And it said volumes of new work had increased for a ninth consecutive month.

The industry also saw jobs increase for the eighth month in a row.

The pick-up in the housing market has been boosted by falling unemployment and low interest rates, as well as government initiatives aimed at increasing home ownership such as Help to Buy.

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