Construction output rises but new orders plummet

10 September 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

Construction output continued to recover in the three months to July 2018, following a weak start to the year, but new orders have plummeted to a five-year low.

That's according to the latest official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Output rose 3.3% in the three months to July 2018 as compared to the three months before, driven by growth in repair and maintenance and all new work, which grew by 5.3% and 2.3% respectively.

As compared to a year earlier, infrastructure grew by 11.5% in the three months to July 2018, while private house building was up 10.4%. But there was a fall of 9.2% in public non-housing (mainly schools and hospitals) and a drop of 2.7% in private commercial.

Meanwhile, total construction new orders declined by 6.5% in the second quarter of the year (April to June) as compared to the previous quarter. That meant a decrease for the third consecutive quarter, taking new orders to their lowest level since Q1 2013.

As compared to a year ago, new orders in Q2 of 2018 were down 18% for public non-housing, 16.6% in the industrial sector, 11.6% in the commercial sector, 1.6% in private housing and 0.4% in infrastructure. Only public housing saw a year-on-year rise, of 1.4%.

Taken together, construction new orders fell 7.4% in Q2 2018 as compared to the year before.

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