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Construction sector growth increased in May

Growth in the construction sector increased in May, and is now at a level last seen in September 2007.

The monthly Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) reported a level of 58.5, rising from 58.2 the previous month.

A figure of 50 indicates no growth or decline, while a number above 50 indicates growth, and a number below 50 indicates decline.

Economist at Markit and author of the UK Construction PMI, Sarah Ledger, said: “It was encouraging to see growth within the UK construction sector maintained during May, with all three sub-sectors (housing, commercial and civil) indicating an expansion in activity.

“However, it is unlikely that the current rate of growth will be maintained over the medium-term. This partly reflects the low base from which expansion is being built, but also the uncertainty surrounding cuts in public spending.

“Importantly, staffing levels were reported to have risen for the first time in two years during May. Whilst in absolute terms pre-recession employment levels are a long way off, this indicates that increased activity is having an overall expansionary effect on the industry.”

Civil engineering activity grew for the first time in two years. This sector was the last to return to growth but also contracted at a slower rate during the downturn compared to the other construction categories.

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