According to the report from IHS Markit/CIPS, the recovery in UK construction output gained further momentum during June. Overall construction activity expanded at the fastest pace since June 1997, supported by another sharp rise in new orders. Suppliers' delivery times lengthened to the greatest extent since the survey began just over 24 years ago, surpassing the previous record seen in April 2020. Severe shortages of construction products and materials resulted in a survey record rise in purchasing prices in June.
At 66.3 in June, up from 64.2 in May, the seasonally adjusted UK Construction PMI Total Activity Index signalled the strongest rate of output growth for exactly 24 years. Sharp increases in business activity were seen across all three main areas of the construction sector monitored by the survey.
Construction work in the house building sub-category (index at 68.2) increased at the fastest pace since November 2003. The second-best performing area was commercial work (66.9), with output rising at the strongest rate since March 1998. Meanwhile, civil engineering activity rose sharply in June (60.7), but the speed of growth eased to a three month low. Survey respondents widely commented on a rapid turnaround in demand for new construction work, especially residential building and commercial projects related to the reopening of the UK economy. Total new orders have increased in each of the past 13 months, although the latest expansion was slower than May's survey-record high.
Construction companies remain optimistic about growth prospects for the next 12 months. That said, the degree of confidence eased to its lowest since January, in part reflecting concerns about labour availability and the sustainability of the recent surge in demand.
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