Better weather and a rise in new orders supported “modest” growth last month, experts have said, with optimism among UK construction companies at its strongest in eight months.
“The UK construction sector showed a welcome bounce-back from the snow-related drop in activity late last year,” said financial information services company Markit chief economist Chris Williamson.
But he said this is influenced by a “boost to activity in January resulting from the disruption to workflows in December”, meaning the underlying growth trend remains “only very modest and well below the surging pace seen in the second quarter of last year”.
“Until growth becomes sustained it is unlikely we will see employment levels rise substantially.”
David Noble, Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply
“The outlook appears to be one of nervous optimism. Confidence over future business prospects was at its strongest in eight months, but this still remained relatively subdued compared to the long-run average,” he said.
This nervousness about future prospects was highlighted by a further reduction in employment.
Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply chief executive officer David Noble said: “Some companies that are doing well are hiring but many more companies are continuing to adjust to lower workloads and deferral of projects.
“Until growth becomes sustained it is unlikely we will see employment levels rise substantially and consistently.”