Lack of new work sees August’s activity slow

A lack of new work slowed construction activity in August, the latest data from the Purchasing Managers’ Index has shown.

The PMI data for August was 54.6, which was down from 58.1 in July. Any figure above 50.0 indicates growth of total construction output. July’s increase was the highest in five years and the three months prior to August were all bigger than last month’s figure. Activity in housebuilding, commercial work and civil engineering was weaker in each category compared to the previous month.

The IHS Markit/CIPS survey found that supply chain disruption continued across the industry. Respondents also reported that “stock shortages and an imbalance of supply and demand for construction inputs contributed to higher purchasing costs. The overall rate of input price inflation was the highest since April 2019.”

There was also an improvement in business expectations among construction companies for the year ahead. Twice as many respondents (43 per cent) anticipate an increase in construction output over the next 12 months as those expecting a fall (19 per cent).

Job losses eased slightly in August, but are still occurring at the fastest rate in a decade.