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Construction records fastest growth since August 2007

Construction activity has surpassed its previous peak with the fastest growth since August 2007 recorded last month, according to new figures.

The latest Purchasing Managers’ Index from Markit/The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply registered 62.6 in November 2013, up sharply from 59.4 in October, and the seventh consecutive positive reading. A reading above 50 denotes growth in the industry.

Those surveyed by Markit/CIPS pointed to a significant uplift in housing activity, with the rate of growth the fastest in 10 years. Commercial work saw the steepest rise in the month since September 2007, while activity in civil engineering saw little change from October.

The survey highlighted increased confidence in the economic outlook and improving credit conditions helping to boost spending in construction. The rise in new orders was the joint fastest in six years, while the balance of companies predicting a rise in output was the highest since September 2009, said Markit/CIPS.

Consequently, employment and company purchasing activity rose in the month, with the rate of expansion for both measures the fastest for just over six years.

Markit senior economist Tim Moore said: “Sustained improvements in infrastructure and residential building helped keep the sector on a strong recovery path in November.

“That said construction growth is still coming from a low base as output levels rebound from a deep and protracted double-dip recession that only really ended this summer.

“Therefore, while construction’s current growth trajectory may be the steepest for over six years, there is still a huge loss of output to recoup before the sector reaches its pre-recession peak. Looking ahead, there are a number of positive signs that improvements in activity levels will be maintained, as job creation picked up again in November and confidence about the business outlook reached its highest level since September 2009.”

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