The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI® for February read 52.6, strongly up from January’s 48.4; indicating the fastest improvement in the overall rate of construction activity for more than a year.
Improvement in demand translated to higher levels of business activity, notably in the housing and commercial construction sectors. The expansion in house building activity was the strongest since mid 2018 and commercial construction work returned to growth. However, civil engineering activity weakened further during February, although the rate of decline was only marginal and the least for 13 months.
The February survey indicated the strongest recovery in new orders across UK construction for more than four years, which helped to stabilise employment levels and boosted demands for sub-contractors, second month running.
Purchasing activity also returned to growth but stronger input demand placed extra pressure on supply chains, resulting in longer lead times. Business optimism for future growth was slightly weaker than in January but stronger than during the second half of 2019.