Figures released in the past few days have revealed that after several successive months of decline construction output in April was up 2.5% on March’s figures. This is the largest month on month increase in over two years.
The April figures show a 2.9% increase in all new work as well as a 1.9% increase in repair and maintenance, despite a feeling in the industry that uncertainty surrounding the upcoming EU referendum has slowed project starts. Figures over the three month period still showed a downward trend and are lower than the same period last year, possibly due to the aforementioned doubt surrounding the referendum. It is expected that the next quarter will see similar figures due to this same uncertainty, though there is a strong possibility that the second half of the year could see a sharp rise after the vote has taken place.
Professor Noble Francis is Economics Director at the Construction Products Association. While taking encouragement from April’s increased output, he has also been quick to point out more specific areas of growth. Speaking to Construction Enquirer he said “More encouraging is that new orders in the infrastructure sector continue to go from strength-to-strength, up 27% in Q1 versus Q4 and up 16% versus a year ago. As we’ve highlighted in our own forecasts, this sector looks set to lead activity for the wider industry over near-term.”