Construction output decline continued in February

Office of National Statistics figures published yesterday show that construction output decreased 1.6% in February, led by a 9.4% fall in activity in the infrastructure sector. Monthly data can be volatile, but on a three-month basis, output was still 0.8% lower. Output fell in all sectors except for private housing, the largest construction sector, which recorded growth of 2.8% on a three-month basis.

Rebecca Larkin, senior economist at the Construction Products Association, commented: “This release will capture some of the impact of the snow disruption during the first quarter of the year, equivalent to one working day at the end of February. Output for the month was £206 million lower than in January and whilst it cannot all be attributed to weather disruption, a pause in activity on sites across the country would have been unavoidable.

“Infrastructure had a weak start to 2018, with rail and road work affected by freezing conditions, but days were also lost as contracts were handed over on former Carillion projects. Private housing remained the star performer of the industry, rising 1.5% month-on-month and 7.6% from a year earlier even before the traditional Spring increase in house building activity.”