Construction’s recovery slows in October

Rising order books hit by materials shortages

The recovery of construction activity across the UK slowed to a five-month low in October.

While output increased during the month, the rate of expansion was the weakest since June, according to the latest IHS Markit/CIPS construction PMI.

Its total activity index fell to 53.1, from 56.8 in September. The index has registered above the 50.0 no-change mark in each month since June.

Explaining the slowdown, Duncan Brock, group director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, said: “Activity growth in the construction sector dipped a little in October as supply chain challenges impacted on productivity and some of the momentum from the last few months leaked away”.

Housebuilding was the best performing area of construction activity in October thanks to pent-up demand, posting an index score of 62.4, although the speed of recovery did ease slightly from September.

There was also another rise in commercial activity, with the index sitting at 52.1, although the latest expansion was the weakest for five months.

But civil engineering activity dropped for the third month running, with the index falling to 36.4. The rate of decline was the steepest since May.