The construction industry has shown strong signs of improvement recently, with output now exceeding levels recorded before the pandemic hit in 2020.
According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), monthly construction output grew by 0.2 per cent in volume terms in December 2021.
During this month, the level of construction output was £35 million, 0.3 per cent higher than the levels experienced in February 2020, prior to national lockdowns due to Covid-19.
New work was predominantly to thank for this, with this increasing by 3.5 per cent last December. Conversely, repair and maintenance jobs dropped over the month, declining by 0.7 per cent.
As well as a monthly rise, construction output increased by one per cent in the last quarter of 2021, while it grew by 12.7 per cent between 2020 and 21, the highest rise ever recorded. However, it follows a steep decline in annual growth in 2020, with construction output dropping by 14.9 per cent that year due to sites being shut down.
There was growth for both new work and repair and maintenance over Quarter 4 2021, with the former increasing by 1.1 per cent and the latter rising by 0.8 per cent over the three-month period.
This comes after the HIS Markit CIP UK Construction purchasing managers’ index recorded a reading of 54.3 in December 2021, which is an indication of growth in the sector as it is higher than 50.
The Guardian reported the figure was lower than expected – with analysts forecasting a reading of 54 – due to rising cases of Covid-19 and new restrictions.
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