UK construction industry still extremely fragile

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The UK’s construction industry has witnessed another poor month. January’s activity matched December’s low, although there were reports that companies were starting to hire staff for the first time in four months.

This latest report, based on figures from the Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index, shows that the sector remained at the 48.7 level recorded in December, below the crucial 50 point mark, which separates an expanding situation and a contracting one.

Tim Moore, economist at Markit, said: "January's survey results are yet another indicator of the severe underlying fragility across the UK construction sector, with output failing to rise in any of the three monitored sub-sectors for the first time since last summer.

“Snowfall at the start of the year may have disrupted output to some degree, but unfavourable weather outside is clearly far down the long list of difficulties afflicting construction companies at present."