UK March construction PMI 61.7 vs 55.0 expected

Latest data released by Markit/CIPS – 8 March 2021

That’s a major beat as construction activity saw a robust rise in all major sub-sectors last month, with output growth the strongest since September 2014.

Housebuilding was the leading sub-sector, posting its quickest growth since July 2020 with strong increases also seen in commercial and civil engineering activity. Improving client demand and new project starts were key to the jump in March.

“March data revealed a surge in UK construction output
as the recovery broadened out from house building to
commercial work and civil engineering. Total activity
expanded to the greatest extent for six-and-a-half years
as residential spending remained robust, commercial
projects restarted and infrastructure contract awards
moved ahead.

“Improving confidence among clients in the commercial
segment was a key driver of growth, with development
activity rebounding in sectors of the economy set
to benefit the most from the improving pandemic
situation. The increasingly optimistic UK economic
outlook has created a halo effect on construction
demand and the perceived viability of new projects.

“Constrained supplier capacity and stretched transport
availability continued to pose challenges for the
construction sector in March. Short supply of products
and materials pushed up purchase prices at the fastest
rate since August 2008.

“Continued pressures on supply chains are expected in
the near-term, but these concerns did little to dampen
confidence about the business outlook. The latest
survey pointed to the strongest growth projections
across the UK construction sector since those reported
during a post-election bounce back in June 2015.”

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