Housebuilding lifts slow sector

Housebuilding helped boost UK construction activity last month, but the sector is expanding at a slower pace than it was a year ago. The Markit/CIPS construction purchasing managers' index rose to 57.3 in August, up from 57.1 last month. Tim Moore, a senior economist at Markit, said companies remained on a 'reasonably strong growth footing', pointing out that demand for both staff and subcontractors is picking up. However expansion has slowed considerably since the beginning of last year when the index often showed 60 or above. In the second quarter, the construction sector had quarter-on-quarter growth of just 0.2%. Howard Archer, chief UK economist for IHS Global Insight, said that the 'decent' August result suggested construction should make a bigger contribution to growth in the third quarter.


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