The construction industy ended 2006 on a high with December seeing accelerated growth in construction activity according to a report published by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) today.
The CIPS Construction Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) - a seasonally adjusted index designed to measure the overall performance of the construction economy - rose to 57.5, from 54.8 in the previous month, indicating marked expansion of the construction sector. Growth was driven by sharper increases in orders across all sectors, with the rate of expansion in civil engineering activity the greatest for 37 months. Fastest growth was reported in the commercial sector, with the seasonally adjusted Commercial Activity Index rising from 54.6 in November to 58.1 in December. CIPS director of professional practice, Roy Ayliffe, said: 'Growth in the UK construction sector continued in December with commercial activity experiencing the fastest rise. The main issue facing UK construction firms was the sharp rise in input price inflation. Many panellists reported rising energy costs and higher prices for various raw materials in December. 'However, as we look forward to this year, purchasing managers remain optimistic that growth will continue with orders and planned company expansions helping to increase confidence.'